One of the first things I noticed about my newly purchased parrot, was that he couldn’t fly. Chico’s wings had been clipped and he was stuck here on earth just like us humans. Once the weather turned nice I took Chico and sat him on a branch of a tree in my backyard, hoping to make him happier. At first he seemed confused. He walked back and forth on the branch looking like an agitated father pacing back and forth in the maternity waiting room. I was surprised to see that he didn’t flap his wings in an attempt to fly. Somehow he knew he was incapable. I always wondered how he knew such a thing.
One day, while sitting on his branch, Chico got way more agitated then he had been when I first took him outside months ago. He was pacing back and forth and talking up a storm. Then all of a sudden, he stopped pacing, let out a spine tingling scream, and started madly flapping his wings for the first time ever. About three seconds later, he lifted off from the branch like the space shuttle at Cape Canaveral! I was amazed and shocked. Little did I know his feathers had been growing back in, and just like a sly convict, Chico had been biding his time until the moment was ripe for escape!
Chico made his break for freedom on a late Monday afternoon, and by late Monday night I knew he was not coming home. Finally, on Tuesday evening Chico returned, but stayed way out of reach. I talked to him and showed him some food, but to no avail. Then I took his cage inside so he would not relate coming back to getting locked up again. Finally, I made him a firm promise that if he did come back I would let him out every day the weather was nice. Shortly after making my solemn oath, he flew onto my shoulder and I took him upstairs.
From that day on, whenever the weather was good I would let him out early and he would fly around and be back before dark. This routine lasted for about two months and then suddenly Chico became ill. The vet said that he had contracted a disease from the pigeons in the neighborhood. Within a few days he died, and I mourned his loss.
Just once the thought crossed my mind that if I had not set him free to fly every day, he would still be alive. It was then that I realized that the quality of one’s life is much more important than the number of years one lives. What sense is there in being a bird if you can’t fly?
Chico made his initial break for freedom on a late Monday afternoon in April. When will you make yours? You too can take a chance when the conditions are right, knowing you too in your own way, were built to fly. If you don’t set yourself free, what will be the purpose of your life? I would suggest that the quality of one’s life is dependant on feeling one’s essence, and living the design that is you. If you are a fish, your life needs to be all about swimming. If you are a bird, your life needs to be all about flying and spreading your message to all that you meet along the way. What sense is there in being you, if you don’t really let yourself free and express your heart?
By Charlie Badenhop