This is a guest post by Jordan Denari.
Sitting on a cliff overlooking the Potomac River, I noticed a bird, gliding high over the water, never once flapping his wings. As I watched him, I noticed an uneasy feeling growing in my stomach, a feeling much like the one I’d get when worried about my future plans or long to-do list. I thought to myself, “Why aren’t you flapping, bird? Don’t you want to control where you’re going? You don’t know where the wind will take you!” But he continued to fly, holding his wings out in quiet strength, trusting that the wind would hold him.
As he floated out of sight, I realized that the bird was my prayer, that God was trying to tell me that this bird approached life in a way completely opposite from the way I lived it.
Like many people, I had spent most of my life trying to guide the course without letting God in to help. I found myself flapping incessantly, trying to keep myself from falling, while ignoring the wind. Like the bird, I needed to learn to hold out my wings steadily, to trust the wind, to trust God.
Since this retreat experience, I’ve rarely felt the anxiety and stress I used to feel. And even when those feelings creep up, I’m able to let them go more easily. I remember the wind that exists under my wings, and I stop flapping as hard.
When have you found “birds of pray” in your life—God’s signs in nature that sparked a crucial moment of prayer and reflection?
Jordan Denari is a senior at Georgetown University and a graduate of Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis, Indiana. Her writing on Muslim-Christian relations has been featured in The Washington Post and America.