I had a busy day of sorts. I had gotten a good 9 hours of deep sleep and hope to still get to bed relatively early tonight so this will be a shorter blog. I had a few things to do around the house before a couple of meetings in the afternoon. When I stepped outside to go to the first meeting, I was gloriously greeted by a beautiful spring day, the tree in the front yard bellowing hello. I felt a deep longing to play hooky today.
I did not though. I went to a great meeting with the other spiritual directors who are involved with the Spiritual Exercises. I then went to turn in the monies for one of the charities that I had earmarked for my birthday donations. In between those two meetings I messaged a friend that I was running a bit late for our coffee outing. When I got home, he picked me up and on a whim, we changed plans and drove out of town for supper and a walk.
I was given two options and I chose the faraway one when he said he was putting the top down on the vehicle. I needed to breathe by the water too and wondered if the pelicans might be around to play. They were there in great number. We watched them for awhile, these odd yet mystical creatures as they huddled together, dozens of them, maybe even more. Watching them go with the flow, floating backwards and flipping around to nestle in with their clan, I thought they knew where they belonged. Occasionally, they took off and flew towards the dam, running along the water before they lifted off and glided low to the water, wings beating, echoing back to us on the shore.
They are protective of one another, these pelicans pods. They kept a close eye on us as we drew near them, floating away from us, or flying off. I googled pelicans tonight and discovered that in Catholicism they are a symbol for the Christ figure because of two legends. The first is that during a famine, a mother pelican wounded herself, striking her breast with the beak to feed her blood to her babies to prevent starvation. A different twist says that the mother fed her dying young her blood to prevent their deaths, losing her life in the process.
I must admit that watching these birds go with the flow did restore me tonight to life. I felt as if I had had a mini-vacation. Christ who redeems us with his death, rejoices with our mini-resurrections. He desires our wholeness. I am grateful for my Saviour who reminds me to go with the flow more often and who celebrates the concept of community in pods of pelicans and people. May we all be ready to lay down our lives for others.
When was the last time you played hooky?
Who makes up your pelican pod?
Walking on water is one thing, but running on water and taking flight is a whole other adventure. Let me go with the flow, Jesus, and be open to all your glorious plans. Amen.
The reference to the pelican legends stirred a memory for me. I looked back and found a note from my dad (who passed away a few years ago). He also referenced this beautiful legend of the pelican. His note also referenced St Joseph’s Cathedral in Toronto which has a mosaic of the pelican as an image of Christ’s love. Coincidentally, a few days ago, we were driving down a nearby street and something caught my eye. In a nearby pond there was a bursting spray of water, forming quite a beautiful arc. As I watched the spray of water I saw two pelicans – their wings were splashing in the water. A beautiful sight in an “ordinary” part of my neighbourhood. Thanks as always for a thoughtful post.
How interesting! I’ll have to see if I’m anywhere near St. Joseph’s when I’m in TO later this summer. Hard to imagine these creatures in the city. What a blessing to see them.
Yes it was a blessing to see the pelicans. By the way I noticed that I mentioned St. Joseph’s Cathedral…but it was actually a St. Joseph’s Church (not cathedral) in Toronto.
Thanks…I will make that note.