Under the palms, next to the pool, we’ve built an aviary. I raise parakeets. They are wonderfully entertaining little creatures and as colorful as Easter eggs on the lawn.
During breeding season I learn a lot from them. I check the nesting boxes daily, which doesn’t thrill them but is exciting for me. They lay an egg every other day and after they’ve laid a few they start to sit them.
Now, not every egg will hatch. Sometimes the first few are infertile and there’s nothing inside. Sometimes something goes wrong in the development and the chick inside will die. I know when each female started laying and how long it takes for an egg to hatch, so when it’s past its due date I take out the old eggs and throw them out so they don’t start to rot and threaten the personal growth of the whole nest.
For those who do hatch, they are small, fragile, pink creatures with bulging black eyes. Did I also say they were featherless? Not pretty. Now here’s the fun part for me. I can’t tell what color the babies will be until the feathers come in. Two yellow parents can still produce blue or green offspring or little yellow clones of themselves.
I have some very rare colors in my aviary: grey, sage green, light turquoise with a yellow face, blue and white like a cloudy day. I marvel at the fact that every small white egg holds an individual that is unique and precious. Some are curious and friendly while others are fearful and desperate to hide under their siblings. They are all individuals with the potential to mature and delight in their lives but only if they hatch and grow.
The eggs I throw out always remind me of so much potential gone. I’ll never get to see the wonder of that particular little marvel.
What does your “egg” look like?
What keeps you inside your “egg”?
What does your “nest” look like?
Our personal growth hides inside
So many of us are like eggs at present as C.S. Lewis points out. So much potential and hidden color waiting to show itself.
Many of us want to stay hidden inside the security of our eggs, others are unaware they are hiding at all, thinking that the inside of the egg is life itself. Others still long to hatch but don’t know-how. And others burst forth, awkward and yet to develop color and personality. Which are you?
What holds you in your “nest”?
What do you gain by staying the same?
What do you lose by not growing?
Think about cracking the egg and leaving the nest. What do you feel?
Personal growth needs assistance
Both the mother and father feed the quickly growing babies. Eventually, I will see a small face peeking from the nest, examining the world before it takes its first flight. Sometimes a baby is so excited to come out that it does so before it is ready. A parent will stay with the baby on the bottom of the aviary and bring it food until it can take care of iteself. Sometimes a baby is too frightened to come out because another bird has attacked it in the nest. The parent lets it stay a bit longer until it is ready.
After emerging from the nest the parents still feed it and teach it. It begs for food and the parents oblige until it learns where to get food for itself and joins the flock as a growing adult. Often the youngsters find each other and sit together watching and learning.
It is much the same for us. When we are engaged in our own personal growth, we need help too. Sometimes that help comes from books and web pages; often it comes through others who come alongside us to help. We may need time to heal, we may need someone to show us how to “feed” ourselves, and we may need someone to feed us for a short while until we learn how to care for ourselves. Even as mature ones we still need each other for community and growth.
You have to hatch to live
Although we are not parakeets, we do have to come out of our shells in order for the world to see our color and delight in us. We have to leave the nest in order to grow and become part of the community. We have to rely on others to help us at first but we have to learn to help ourselves as well.
What if there is more than you’ve been so far?
What if you could be truly free to be yourself?
What would you look like?
What would you change?
How would it feel?
Counseling or coaching to personal growth?
Will you ask Christ to help you?
Who else will you ask?
The world waits to see the true you.