Updated: Nov 8, 2020
If I had to caption this image I took on my early evening walk, I’d call it:
TAKE FLIGHT, TURNING BACK IS NOT AN OPTION.
When I first noticed a bird resting on the edge of this street sign, coincidentally right in front of my old elementary school, a place that still fills my heart with fond childhood memories every time I pass it, something struck inside me. I didn’t know why, but I instantly reached into my pocket and grabbed my iPhone to capture the moment. Unfortunately, all I could get was one shot. The bird, as I figured it would, flew away. And just like that, the moment was gone. Nothing left, but just a “NO U-TURN” sign.
I put my phone back in my pocket, continued walking and didn’t think much more about it after that; only that I was relatively certain I had taken a lousy picture. It wasn’t until later that night, as I was scrolling through all the images I had taken during my walk, when I was struck by what I had captured. That what I thought was just a random moment of a bird perched on the edge of a street sign actually had such a meaningful and deeply impacting message.
To me, this image represents what each and every human in the world right now has had to face. To be on the edge of uncertainty, wanting so desperately to turn back around to the safety, the security and the comfort of life, as we knew it. Whether under quarantine at home or in the trenches, as patients or healthcare providers, all of us in one way or another is battling with the fear of the unknown and what life holds for us.
What will happen? The answer to that we simply don’t know. But the one thing we do know about uncertainty is this one simple truth: LIFE IS, AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN, UNCERTAIN. We know this to be true, and yet, time and time again, our natural impulse as humans is to want to resist that, and ultimately, to want to control that which we intuitively know is out of our control.
A U-turn back to the way life was is not an option for us. Surrendering to uncertainty and making peace with it, however, is. It is knowing and trusting that hard times come, but they also go. That things will be good again. And they will be bad again, too. That is the ebb and flow of life. We must learn to ride the waves and trust in the truth of our hearts.
I am reminded of the following: A bird is never afraid of a branch breaking beneath her feet. It is her trust in her own wings that keeps her going.
A U-turn is not an option. Take your feet off of the edge and take flight. Take flight into the uncertainty of life. Take flight into the knowingness of your heart.