A man found an eagle's egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them.
All his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air.
Years passed and the eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings.
The old eagle looked up in awe. "Who's that?" he asked.
"That's the eagle, the king of the birds," said his neighbor. "He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth - we're chickens." So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that's what he thought he was.
This story by Anthony De Mello has always captivated and frustrated my imagination. The good news of it is that we all possess unrealized potential in our "eagle-ness". The other good news is that we get to learn how to FLY! The bad news is that we will undoubtedly fall on our beaks a few times and this will cause pain. It is invaribly more difficult to learn things as an adult than as small children. As children, we are molded as soft clay in the potter's hands while spinning around in circles; as adults, we are chiseled with the sharp tools of the sculptor as we sit watching the bits fly off...
Speaking of watching bits flying off...Happy 50th Birthday to my brother, Brian in Missouri. You rock, old timer! AARP will be calling any day now....lucky you.