I thank God that He has given me the mentality of an overcomer and the internal drive to stay the course, no matter what comes my way. We all go through things in life that test us and challenge us in the most interesting ways.
It is during these tough and challenging times that we are able to really find out what we are truly made of.
Are we strong and courageous winners or wimpy and frail chickens?
That may seem callous and a tough pill for many of us to swallow, but it is real.
The one thing that I realized early on in my life is that whatever I go through and experience, someone else has either gone through the same thing or worse.
It is not what happens to us that matters most, but how we respond to it.
We can choose to have a positive outlook on the situation with the best possible outcome or we can become woeful complainers and quitters, focused on the attention that comes from being a victim.
We must take the posture, soar above situations and have the vision of an eagle. Many times, we don’t function as eagles, but we function as chickens.
Chickens are not leaders, they are followers.
If one chicken sees a group of other chickens running around, they will take off after them without knowing where they are going and what they plan to do.
Chickens fight over things that they see the other chickens want. If one chicken finds something to eat, then all of a sudden all the chickens want to eat it. They will fight and chase each other all over the place, seeking to snatch it away from one another.
Chickens will never attempt to fly, and are content staying on the ground where they believe they belong.
Being a chicken is limited and status-quo.
The eagle, however, soars high in the sky, riding the rough and rugged wind currents without fear or concern.
Eagles know who they are and are not afraid to take their rightful place as the King or Queen of their domain. They are resilient and strong.
Eagles are majestic in their appearance and have a keen eye to spot out their next meal to ensure they have what they need to be fed.
It reminds me of this spiritual story that I heard some time ago by an unknown author called Chicken and the Eagles.
A long time ago in a remote valley, there lived a farmer. One day he got tired of the daily routine of running the farm and decided to climb the cliffs that brooded above the valley to see what lay beyond.
He climbed all day until he reached a ledge just below the top of the cliff; there, to his amazement was a nest, full of eggs.
Immediately he knew they were eagle’s eggs and, even though he knew it was profoundly un-ecological and almost certainly illegal, he carefully took one and stowed it in his pack; then seeing the sun was low in the sky, he realized it was too late in the day to make the top and slowly began to make his way down the cliff to his farm.
When he got home he put the egg in with the few chickens he kept in the yard. The mother hen was the proudest chicken you ever saw, sitting atop this magnificent egg; and the cockerel couldn’t have been prouder.
Sure enough, some weeks later, from the egg emerged a fine, healthy egret. And as is in the gentle nature of chickens, they didn’t balk at the stranger in their midst and raised the majestic bird as one of their own.
So it was that the eagle grew up with its brother and sister chicks. It learned to do all the things chickens do: it clucked and cackled, scratching in the dirt for grits and worms, flapping its wings furiously, flying just a few feet in the air before crashing down to earth in a pile of dust and feathers.
It believed resolutely and absolutely it was a chicken.
One day, late in its life, the eagle-who-thought-he-was-a-chicken happened to look up at the sky. High overhead, soaring majestically and effortlessly on the thermals with scarcely a single beat of its powerful golden wings was an eagle!
“What’s that?!” cried the old eagle in awe. “It’s magnificent! So much power and grace! It’s beautiful!”
“That’s an eagle”, replied a nearby chicken, “That’s the King of the Birds. It’s a bird of the air... not for the likes of us. We’re only chickens; we’re birds of the earth”.
With that, they all cast their eyes downwards once more and continued digging in the dirt.
And so it was that the eagle lived and died a chicken... because that’s all it believed itself to be.
As black people, we have historical knowledge of what it takes to overcome challenges and situations that appeared bleak and insurmountable. What happened to us, where we complain about the things that we don’t have and keep a ‘woe is me’ attitude about life? That is not the black history that I have read about.
Where are all my eagles at?
It’s time for you to stand up and be recognized.
Don’t be a chicken!