Being out of prison for this long, you'd probably think that I wouldn't still be in contact with so many jail-birds. No, not my former peers! I’m referring to my new friends at the seashore--seagulls. You see, seagulls were a common sight in the big yard and by watching them, I found some interesting parallels to humans.
Not only is their incessant squawking shrieking to the ear, but their selfishness is striking. They are, without a doubt, the ultimate jail-birds. Because their jailing methods of “shrieking and striking” certainly make them believe they’re KINGS of their domain.
I watch them soar majestically overhead, or so it seems. It appears they hover with the wind and then land gracefully on your lawn. But watch out! As soon as they are generously fed the leftover scraps of bread, they go from being kingly to stingy. And as they shriek, it’s only a matter of time before they strike again.
First they go after the bread scraps and then they go after each other’s necks. They refuse to share. If one gets ahead, the majority goes after his head. It’s unbelievable to watch.
But maybe my fascination with these birds is because so much of what I see in their actions is a metaphorical example of the selfish nature of man.
We stroll around like we are royalty, but let someone get ahead of us and we so easily become beastly. And not only that, but we gang up on the person that’s solo. Whether they are isolated because of tragedy or triumph. Because they have “bread” in their mouth and we don’t, we attack by striking their character, slandering their success or back-biting their failure. We aren’t so different from these jail-birds after all!
Conversely, “Bread” (spiritual food) always brings the best out of our spiritual side and the worst out of our natural side. You see, when we make “bread” our priority, we are setting ourselves apart by integrity. That’s the spiritual victory.
You can learn a lot about yourself from watching these jail-birds fly and fight. If we can minimize the fighting and just learn the beauty of flying, we’ll go from being a “shrieking and striking sea-gull" to a shining and soaring eagle. How? By praying, “Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
We weren’t created to be like jail-house birds, but to be free as the birds.