Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Escape (01/02/06)
TITLE: Where the Wild Geese Fly, So Do I
By Karen Heslink
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Each November I watch groups of geese form their familiar V-patterns in the sky and fly southward. Their echoing honks and graceful soaring make me wistful and wanting to join them. Snowbirds, like my parents, over pack their cars and head to places promising warmer weather. Meanwhile I sit in my cozy office writing and reading. The geese stop along the way at familiar ponds for food and rest. Using this time to gather energy for the next leg of their journey, they huddle in groups and honk joyously to one another. My parents always arrive at my house just a few days before Thanksgiving. We stay up late talking and snacking on the food of special holidays. Like the geese, they rest and relax before heading on to North Carolina to visit with my brother and his family. Before they arrive, I leave my computer and stack of unread books to make pies, and “from scratch” cinnamon rolls. As I work in the kitchen, I question my lot in life. I can’t help but ask God why the geese get to escape the cold of winter. I wonder why my parents get to winter in Florida instead snowy upstate New York. Where is my escape? How do I get away from the cold and snow of winter?
Then I remember that I escape every Tuesday morning when I meet five other “church ladies” for our prayer breakfast. It is always a time of sharing each others joys and burdens, of prayer and contemplation, and the best baked blueberry oatmeal on the face of the earth! Until recently, one lady didn’t have any grandchildren. Now we are all anxiously waiting for her first grandchild to arrive in February. Then our Grandma count will be six! We all had health issues over the last two years. Like the flock of geese, we never leave a hurt or injured one behind. A few geese always stay behind to attend the one that is sick or injured until it either dies or is well enough to fly again. When I broke my leg in three places last fall and was in a wheel chair, the ladies took turns picking me up so I would not miss any of our prayer breakfasts. Like the geese, we go to our place of escape together and honk joyously!
Last fall, I took over the leadership reigns of the Alpha program at my church. I did this only after many conversations and a few arguments with God. I knew from the moment I said yes that God was in control. I said that over and over to people who asked me how I could find the time to do it. One very precious lesson I learned by leading Alpha was it takes teamwork to get where you want to go. Geese do that as well. There is no real leader in a flock of geese. They take turns flying at the front of the formation. That way, each one has a time of leading and a time of following, which is easier. God’s plan for us includes time together, sharing His word and His work.
I had no idea how to end this little snapshot on escape until I casually picked up one of those free, mostly advertisements magazines in a restaurant this morning after church. In it was an article saying that many of the geese I see have actually flown here, where I live, to winter. This area is their escape destination. I am already in a place of escape, but it took God's geese to make me understand that!
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