There’s a place near downtown Nashville where I-40 and I-65 join together for a short stretch, then split again to go their separate ways. I-40 comes in from the left, and combines with I-65 coming in from the right. But instead of running side-by-side, the two interstates crisscross, so that cars continuing on I-40 must switch over to the right, and those staying on I-65 must move to the left. (If you’re following this, you’re doing a lot better than the folks who have to maneuver this crazy fruit-basket-turnover every day.) I call that little section of freeway “Dissatisfaction Alley” because no one is content to be where they are.
No one, that is, except the birds.
The birds, mind you, are peacefully perched atop a thin wire strung right across Dissatisfaction Alley. While the massive hunks of metal push and shove and jockey for position down on the asphalt, the birds are sitting quietly on the wire, huddled feather-to-feather, resting.
How can they relax up there? I would think the poor things would be scared to death, suspended above the roaring chaos with only their twiggy toes to hold them in balance. But they seem perfectly content to catch a few winks and let the traffic scream on by without giving it a second thought. Aren’t they afraid they’ll slide off and hurtle helplessly into the thundering herd? Apparently not. So what’s their secret?
Jesus once said even the teeny-tiniest sparrow is under the watchful eyes of its Creator. He insisted that not one of them could fall to the ground without our Heavenly Father knowing. So what would God do if He saw a few of our nimble nappers slip off and begin tumbling towards Dissatisfaction Alley? Would He open up the sky, reach out His hand and rescue them in mid-air?
Nope. Our wise Creator already has that contingency covered:
He gave them wings.
They can fly.
I spend a lot time strung out across Dissatisfaction Alley myself – not the interstate, but the one inside my head. Perched atop a thin emotional wire, I am anything but relaxed as I clutch tightly, struggling to hold on.
Every once in a while, a rush of thoughts comes scattering through:
They all merge in at the same time, causing a traffic jam in my mind as they crisscross one another, wrestling for my attention.
I could do like the birds: just ignore them and let them pass on through. But I don’t. I become fixated on them. As I do, I begin to exhaust the strength and focus I need to hold on. Eventually, I lose my foothold and topple headlong towards the frantic swell of anxiety and fear below. “Help me God, I’m falling!”, I cry out. I watch and wait, expecting to see His mighty hand come rocketing out of the clouds.
Instead, the sky is still. But in the stillness, I can finally hear the gentle whispers deep inside me:
“God gave me wings.”
“I can fly.”