• Leslie Merrell

Feeling Turkey-ish

Updated: Oct 15, 2020

I spent this last weekend with a small group of amazing women--fellow coaches, and fellow believers. There were fantastic speakers and activities and amazing food. We shared, we laughed, we cried, we bonded, we learned, and we grew. It was so nourishing to my soul.

Whenever I am privileged to attend an event like this where I am uplifted, and feel my soul stretching, I always think about an analogy I once heard, about the Turkey Flight School.

There once was a group of turkeys that wanted desperately to learn how to fly. As they watched the sky, they saw other birds soaring on the winds, and were envious. "We're birds, too," they said, "there's no reason we shouldn't fly." So, they asked the mightiest bird in the sky, the eagle, if he would teach them how to fly. He agreed, and invited them over to his home the following afternoon.

The eagle was a great teacher, and the turkeys were quick, enthusiastic learners. Before long they were lifting off and landing, and by the end of the day every one of them was able to fly and soar on the wind. They thanked the eagle, clapping him on the back and expressing their gratitude. Some even hugged him. Then, they all walked home, just the way they had come.

I have found it hard to integrate the learning, and maintain the positive momentum from such events when I re-enter my normal, day-to-day life. I used to get really frustrated, and discouraged by this. I would think something was wrong with me when I would hear a beautiful lesson on loving our families, and feel so spiritually uplifted and strengthened, and then go home and yell at my family. Or when, at this retreat, I criticized my own imperfect efforts in our painting activity, right after having learned about the destructive effects of perfectionism. Etc., etc., you get the idea.

But, it occurs to me, that maybe nothing is wrong with me. Maybe it is unusual to make immediate major changes in life. Maybe these opportunities to be taught and strengthened at such events gives me just enough distance from regular life that I can catch a glimpse of the bigger picture, and of what is possible and what I am capable of. And then, when I am back in the thick of things, I think I have not made progress, because I am just too close to witness the incremental progress that becomes evident over time.

Maybe, I am not a turkey after all. ... Or ... maybe, just maybe, we are all turkeys learning how to fly. Maybe, if we watched those turkeys over the days/weeks/months/years following their experiences in flight school we would see how they had changed, and how the experience really had made a difference in their lives. Maybe we would even see the ripple effects throughout their turkey communities. Maybe that perspective would fill us with thanksgiving. (Ha ha, I couldn't resist that last line!)


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