Once upon a time there was a flock of ducks that traveled miles and miles to a duck convention. They had participated in the get-together each year for as long as they could remember. Year after year they looked forward to the multi-day event where they would be surrounded by other ducks–ducks just like them. It was always a pleasure to be taught by other famous duck leaders and the ducks always learned many new skills and techniques. However, this convention was going to be different than all the rest. World class flight experts were brought in to teach the other ducks how to complete difficult maneuvers like barrel rolls, bomb dives and side slips. Day after day the ducks trained to be the best flying ducks in the world. They mastered the skills to fly fast, to fly in windy weather and to navigate in pouring rain. Because of their hard work and expert leaders they were ready to take on the whole duck world.
After four days the duck convention had come to an end. Every duck said their good-byes. This convention was so much more than all the others.
Armed with knowledge each duck stepped outside of the conventional hall…and walked home.
I think of this story when I consider all the advice and help that I get from people who have walked in my shoes, who know my struggles or who understand the path I navigate. Sometimes we get too focused on our own grief and pain and forget that we must also begin to enact the lessons we’ve learned, apply them to our circumstances and begin to take flight. By focusing on healing and by finding ways to enrich our lives, we can begin to rise again. I have found so many helpful people from NorthStar, the Church, friends, family, therapists and support groups, yet I walk instead of fly–even though I am capable of soaring high above the perils that wait below.
The only way we can move upward from our present level of spirituality and performance to a higher level is by doing away with the ballast that holds us back. We have to learn to live the commandments, not only for our own good, but also for the good of other people because we reform others unconsciously when we keep the commandments of God and live the teachings of the Church. That’s another way of doing missionary work and lifting the spirituality of those around us.
Therefore, let’s start our flight today. If we are still at ground level, let’s cut the cords; and our rise will start immediately! However, even that will not ensure our continuous spiritual mobility. Our balloon will rise only so high and then will begin to stall. At that time we have to investigate what ballast we need to get rid of in order to rise even higher. If you find it hard to cut the cords, you will find it even harder to do away with the sandbags to lighten your load.
Today, can we decide to rise higher?