Two Wild Turkeys and Trust

May 13th, 2013
Image © by DrewbieDoo | Flickr | Used under Creative Commons license.

At a recent silent retreat I sat with eyes transfixed on two wild turkeys. A female was grazing along the edge of the wood without a care or glance in my direction while the male kept a careful eye on both of us. He was protecting the space from me and for her by puffing up and fanning out his feathers every few seconds, showing me his front side then his back side, a little sound now and then to go along with the theatrics. I was as still as could be so he might understand that I was not there to hurt them only to take in their beauty while they went about their ordinary business.

He never let up which caused me to laugh wondering if his show was vanity or protection. To which a question inwardly answered, “Is there a difference?” My laughter then turned to compassion as I mused at how instinctual it is to defend ourselves and those we love. It's hard work never letting down our guard, being on high alert, staying busy, keeping up appearances, whatever we do to protect ourselves. Defensiveness in this broken world is a good thing...until it is not. Until we are invited to trust.

It is no small thing to trust, is it? No small thing to believe that someone does not want to cause you harm but indeed wants to take in your handsome beauty. It is no small thing to come to a silent retreat and receive God's delight and care. Leaving behind the external defenses we are often met with the internal ones. Yet God keeps on gazing, laughing perhaps, definitely feeling compassion.

The turkey never did trust me to the point of resting its feathers for a while. Though he did come closer, even within 4 yards of me in which he turned, puffed, fanned, then flapped his wings in my direction and I quickly realized that I did not trust him which was enough to send me on my way. After all, it's still a broken world. Wonder if he laughed inside then later felt compassion.

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