I love to gaze up at the sky during my morning prayer time in my garden. I love to watch the fluffy clouds amble slowly by, to observe all the birds fluttering about accomplishing their birdy morning chores.

Birds usually abound in my morning skies. They move in layers above me. The lowest layer, closest to me, are the smaller fellows, the hummingbirds, wrens, and warblers. They fly fast, zooming through the air from perch to perch, flower to flower, branch to branch all around me in my flower garden. Warblers stop and warble from the tops of my fence posts. Hummingbirds perform quick twitchy little dances in front of my bean vines, sucking up sweet nectar from each delicate purple flower.

The next layer up are the swallows, hundreds of them sailing to and fro at rooftop height. Swallow flight is not graceful. Their spastic flapping wings seem awkwardly mismatched from their swift flight. I’m always reminded of a little child vigorously shaking a toy rubber bird to make the rubber wings flop up and down. (Do they even make those little rubber bird toys anymore?)

High above them all, cloud level, a bald eagle often soars in slow circles, so high that his white head is barely visible. Calmly and serenely he floats upon the air. His wings are still. Only the wind moves his body forward. I admire his quiet strength, his ability to fly high above all the frantic hurried activity down below.

During my meditation today I lay on my back on the flagstone patio and stare up at the morning sky. The flagstones are smooth on my back, still cool from last night’s chill. At first the sky appears completely empty, bright blue, cloudless. Then as I continue to gaze into the blue I notice a tiny bird high above me… perhaps a swallow… it is too far away to tell. But it is a small bird, nothing big or strong like a hawk or eagle.

The lone bird appears to struggle against the wind, its wings flapping madly while he remains nearly stationary in the air. Then as I watch, the bird turns his body to match the wind’s direction and instantly sails forward.

Then I see another bird and then another until there are twenty or more flying around above me. Each one of them first struggles against the wind, staying in place as they furiously flap their wings. I watch as each one then turns and effortlessly shoots forward when the wind carries them.

“Patience…” I hear God whisper into my ear. “Stop trying to fight the wind. Turn your eyes into the direction of my guidance. Wait on me to move you forward with my divine hand.”

How I would love to be the eagle soaring peacefully above the harried torrent and worries of the day. How I long for such strength and wisdom. Instead I will probably always be a little awkward swallow, trying to fly too high for my weak little self, flapping furiously and ineffectively against the tumultuous winds of this life.

But my hope isn’t in my own frail swallow wings. My hope is in my God, the same God who created the swallows, and the eagle and the wind. It is he who renews my strength, who guides my flight. It is he who directs me so that I, even I, may soar with the wind through the sky on wings like eagles.