HomeOpinion & Analysis2020 resolutions: Lessons from the eagle

2020 resolutions: Lessons from the eagle

mathabelazitha/the anvil :BY ZIFISO MASIYE

Imposing, arrogant yet graceful and elegant. Confident and imperious. Soaring. This all-conquering bird is so full of attitude and so unapologetic.
They say of the eagle that she is the most protective of mothers and such an astute planner. Way before hatching time, the eagle will search the tips and crevices of inaccessible mountaintops. There to find a secluded, secure location to perch her maternity room and nest her offspring as far away from predators as possible. Not even the mate is trusted enough to be tolerated within the precincts of the baby nest. For who knows what men will do with their babies in their drunken stupor. No bird is more robust, more meticulous, and more painstaking in the preparation of her babies’ nest. Every twig is selected with pinpoint care and that nest is impenetrably strong and secure. What love! What care!

It is a lesson not in amazing maternal care though. Yet among reckless mothers out there many may learn a lot from the protective love of the she -eagle.

The real lesson as I soon learnt, comes some few weeks down the line when the eaglets acquire the capacity of their eyes and their greening wings begin to flap about. The same vigour, zeal and passion with which the loving mother eagle built the nest, is the same attention to detail with which she proceeds to destroy the nest and loving home of her eaglets . As soon as she is remotely confident the nestling babies can flap their wings, fly a few metres and find themselves a worm, a butterfly, some water and most basic access to livelihood. Not so with humans! Until we experience other people treating our children as full grown adults, it is difficult for us to ever see our children as such. Our agonising struggle and inability to wean-off our eaglets, to trust God’s plan for them, to watch them take those inevitable baby-steps of life and fail and fall to rise again, is so legendary a pandemic, it needs to be listed among sins.

That mad season, the season of resolutions is upon us. Clearly this year the average Zimbabwean has been shocked to absolute numbness and a bankruptcy of dreams and visions. Even the most excitable of “resolutionaries” amongst us are frozen.

Fly and soar the sky…
The angel of the Lord reminded us of the power of solitude. Though mingling and relating is a good and healthy social habit, your sincere source of power is in retreating into your personal space and finding great company in yourself — up, up, and away from the madding crowd. This was Jesus’ habit when he lived amongst us — retreating away from his disciples to pray and meditate, and locate himself with the Father. Jacob too. And all the visionaries of biblical and modern times …they rise and fly and conquer the elements, finding peace in solitude to emerge recharged and indomitable.

Like all the other missions your heart may pursue, the Christian mission on 2020 may not be achieved through the spectacle of crowd fellowship alone. The eagle habit of retreating, soaring away beyond and above the decibels of praise and worship but instead, reflecting deeply and searching the soul for that unique personal reconnaissance with God is absolutely essential.

Vision, focus, eyes on the ball…
So sharp and so long is the vision of the eagle that it can span 5km and yet zoom its lens focus on its prey, a metre long still cobra!
And so it is with our short-sighted lenses of life. So often our attention is drawn to the here and now, ourselves and our immediate environs. That short span of our eyes only sees the pain, the fear, the hunger, the trauma and the hopelessness that surround us as citizens. Issues of personal survival overwhelm our eyes. We cease to think of others and we shift our eyes from God and the ultimate prize, distracted and consumed by the woes and tribulations that the devil throws at us.

The angel of the Lord implored the Christian in 2020 to blind his eye of selfish, personal ambitions and cast his eyes on the needs of others and those in greater pain: she implored the church to look beyond the social and economic trauma visited upon our lives and focus on a power greater than our pain; to by-pass toxic, racial, tribal party, regional divisions sponsored among God’s people by mortal men and vision-dead leaders, but to keep our eyes on broader humanity and the goodwill of all.

The eagle won’t feed on dead meat…
Scavengers and commoners will feed on anything dead. Not the eagle. It selects its menu and hunts and kills its own. In 2020, the global feasting table is awash with so much dead and rotten meat that is crying out for scavengers to devour it. Our eyes and ears are bombarded with ever increasing sleaze, nudity, sex, coarse language and self-worship. Newspapers, designers, television, musicians, Whatsapp, social media are stampeding on all human senses to excite the carnal animal in you, to sell instant gratification, hate-speech and glorification of all forms of evil. It is all dead meat. The angel of the Lord inspired us all with a reminder that God gave us free will to choose on the menu what it is we feed our eyes, our ears, our noses and entire physique. The smart Christian in 2020 shall select for herself and her family what is fresh and healthy meat and what is ingcuba!

Eagles don’t fear the storms. They use them…
Whilst every bird cowers from storms and the whirlwind, the eagle loves to confront the storm. The princely bird manoeuvres itself into the powerful pith of the whirlwind, spreads out its wings and allows the violent storm turbulence to ferry and uplift it into the sky, saving its own wing-power. How smart!
So often, the violent whirlwinds surrounding our lives are our least likely and unsuspecting passports to greater heights of life. “I shall lay your enemies down and make them the mat you walk over” She urged us all not to desert our homes and multiple woes, but with prayer and faith to keep calm, to embrace our storms and use the very energy we so fear to propel ourselves to new beginnings.

Was it not Joseph’s storm that carried him to governorship of Egypt? Who of us would have known in 2017, after years of toiling, planning, failing that our very own storm would, with its own fierce power carry us beyond the mausoleum!

Before she trusts, the eagle tests…
“Chekudya chese, tanga waravira!” Even in courtship the she-eagle will check the commitment of rival-suitors several times over in multiple games of love. In one such, she will soar the sky, her claws clutching onto a live snake and, while airborne, releases the serpent, demanding of the male that he descends fast enough to catch the snake mid-air, before it hits the ground earth!

The long courtship interview will eliminate the laggards and sloppy guys one by one over weeks until the last-man-standing scores! These valuable lessons she brought to both our partner-chasing youths and the ordinary Christian faced with competing faiths and fancy doctrines.
The elder eagle de-feathers herself…
At an advanced age, the proud eagle will retreat to a stocked private cave. There, to carefully pluck out all her aged and weak feathers. It will stay naked and vulnerable, but unseen, until fresh, strong feathers regrow and only then emerge and glide again.

The angel of Lord counselled great caution and care to the 2020 Christian. Look yourself in the mirror and evaluate yourself, your habits, your expenditure, the company you keep and the time you invest in idle talk and useless pursuits. Treasure your time and talents while you can. Shed off unnecessary “friends”, unnecessary habits and retreat and renew yourself.

l Thank you Busi-Dhliwayo Ncube

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