Sunday, May 31, 2015

Seagulls Can Fly

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Once upon a time there was a Mormon seagull named Sam.  He was a studious seagull, engrossed with learning every detail of whatever new thing he came across in his day.  He was also very punctual... always on time.  He knew exactly how long it took to go from place to place in his town so he knew the exact moment to leave so that he would arrive someplace at the exact right time.

One Sunday morning, Sam was up early and reading his scriptures as all good Mormon seagulls do when he came across a certain passage that made him scratch his head.  He was sure he'd read it a thousand times before.  Maybe even more than a thousand.  But today it spoke something new to him and he was fascinated.  Flipping back and forth between Bible and Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants and Conference talks by modern day Church leaders he just had to learn everything there was to know about it.  His wife came out and nervously checked her watch before asking Sam if he was coming to Church.  He checked the time and, knowing precisely how much time he needed to get dressed and make it to the Church, he waved her on and dived back into his research.  He was sure he had time to finish up his morning's study and still make it to Church on time.

When he looked at his watch he saw that more than the few minutes he thought had passed were gone and he was going to be late for Church.  Unless...  Unless he went the other way by the cliffs.  There were two ways to get to the Church from Sam's house.  The safe way that almost everyone went that took 10 minutes.  And the route that went along the edges of the cliffs where dangerous winds blew in off the ocean and could send an unsuspecting seagull crashing to certain death on the beach far below.  If he went by the cliffs, he might just make it barely on time.

So Sam finished getting ready and set off.  He knew a little about wind from working on the bridges where breezes got strong on some afternoons and that convinced him that he'd be ok.  He kept reminding himself of this crossing the cliffs and then, suddenly, there was a massive gust.

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What was happening?  He couldn't feel solid ground.  And everything was spinning.  And he was falling at an alarming speed.  All Sam could think about was his family.  What are they going to do if I die?  How will they get by?  Deciding he was going to at least try to break the fall a bit and not die this way, he lifted his wings to the side.  And noticed he wasn't falling nearly so fast.  Then he decided maybe he could slow it just a bit more if he moved his wings up and down.  It worked!!!  Soon he noticed that not only had he stopped falling but he was starting to rise.  And so he moved his wings faster and made it back to the top of the cliffs where he continued on his way to Church.

Sam arrived just a few minutes late that Fast Sunday morning.  He sat down next to his wife just as the Bishop was making the announcement to turn time over for testimonies.  And he knew he had to share what he'd learned.  So he walked up to the pulpit and taking a deep breath, said "Brothers and Sisters... Seagulls can fly."  There was a collective gasp from the congregation and some snickers of disbelief so he said it again. "Seagulls can fly."  Then he related the tale of being blown over the cliffs and learning for himself that he could fly.  He challenged the other members to try... to extend their wings and move them up and down.  Everyone sat still nervously eyeing the bird next to them.  Finally a young bird off to one side put his wings out and started to move them.  And sure enough, he started to rise.  Everyone was amazed and soon a few more youngsters were flapping away.  Then some of the adults gave it try.  Soon the whole congregation was flying around the chapel excited about this new truth in their life.  And they flew down the halls to the rest of their meetings just as excited.

Then when Church was over... they walked home.

How many of us are like those seagulls?  We have these great and wonderful truths, things we are thankful for and happy to have in our lives... things we get all excited about at Church.  And then we walk out the door and do nothing with them.

Why do we walk when we are made to fly?

Story credit: As close as my memory comes to what was related by Doyle Embry on May 31, 2015.

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