June 9, 2009
I was driving home from work this week, when I noticed there was a quail who I will call Dan, flying parallel with my vehicle on the other side of the street, roughly the same speed. Quail are about as common here in Northern NV as sagebrush (in other words, really common). There was a large SUV about 2 car lengths ahead of me in the lane between Dan and I. Suddenly, the quail gained speed and began to gradually veer across the lanes of traffic going the opposite direction, and then suddenly...he sharply turned.
If for only a moment, he must have thought he could split the gap between the SUV and I. He banked hard and began his path to certain collision with the back of the SUV. In 2 seconds, (which for Dan must have felt like an eternity, if Dan knows what an eternity is) he threw his brakes on, coming to a hovering halt missing the SUV by inches, then pausing, then trying to cross again, all in mid-air. In that 2 seconds, my vehicle had then closed the gap, and Dan's brakes were surely worn down from his first attempt only moments before.
Dan flew and hit the side of my truck, making a sound comparable to a neighborhood hooligan throwing a tennis ball at my vehicle. I thought to myself, "He's a goner".
Moments later, grey feathers erupted from the side of my vehicle blowing past my windshield. Dan was done. Surely the impact or my all-weather tires had finished him.
Then without warning, like a sandy-colored rocket of victory and hope, Dan arose from the concrete graveyard. He was trying to gain altitude as quickly as possible, although it was clear that he had not escaped unscathed. You don't know how a bird is supposed to fly until you see one flying injured. It's a peculiar but clear observation. He made it back across the street as best i could tell, but who knows what happened after that.
Maybe he found cover in the shade of a shrub and breathed his last. Perhaps his buddies watched the whole event and had a round of beers recounting the tale. Maybe he got captured by a neighborhood cat because his normal response time had been affected by the ordeal.
I found myself wondering, "why did he try again what so clearly hurt him the first time?" Before I hit the next traffic light, my mind had wandered. I thought," I do that too".
Isn't it funny how we will often return to the places and people who have hurt or ensnared us, even though we promised we wouldn't? We willingly walk into environments that have eased us into sin, relationships that have robbed us, and situations that set us up for failure but often aren't willing to make a change...
In Hebrews 12, the author says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." I'll be spending some time reflecting on the things that stir my affection towards God, and the things that rob me of it. I would invite you to do the same.
"As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly."