This weekend as I was daydreaming and looking out my window the sunny skies suddenly began to change and a huge storm rolled in. Black clouds swiftly covered the skies and in a matter of only a few minutes strong winds were tossing things about.
As I sat and watched the fleets of trash and debris pass me by something beautiful caught my eye. I looked up and just above the garbage flying about was a huge flock of gulls surfing the winds.
The winds were so strong that the gulls didn’t even have to flap their wings. At first I thought to myself ‘Oh no! They’re going to be tossed and blown away.’ But as I watched them longer I began to notice that they were making no efforts to flee from the storm. Rather they pressed in, facing the winds head on and riding the waves as they blew across the territory. It truly looked as if they were enjoying the ride.
I looked longer and noticed that as the winds would die down the gulls would fly themselves as close together as they could get. When the winds picked back up again they pressed out their wings in unison as strong as possible and began to ride out the storm together – facing the winds of opposition as a team. It was poetic and beautiful and my heart was brimming over with love for these ugly little gulls blowing about the wind. Here they were; a herd of scavengers just struggling to survive out there. It was awesome.
“Look at those gulls!” I cried out to my husband. “It’s so beautiful.” I said, totally reveling in the parable that was exploding before my eyes.
“They’re probably not having a good time at all,” he retorted back at me. “It looks more like they are just struggling to survive out there.” Funny how two people can see the exact same thing and have dramatically different interpretations.
Sometimes I feel like a gull – all wind tossed and blown about in the storm. When I’m feeling down like that if I’m not careful – shame tries to creep in and if it’s successful I’ll turtle up and hide out in isolation, separating myself from everyone.
The first few storms I endured I ended up sliding down a shame spiral of condemnation. I saw myself as a bad mom – nothing more than a scavenging bottom dwelling gull just struggling to survive. I ended up all wind tossed and blown into the deep dark pit of self-loathing and it took me forever to climb out of there.
Now that I’ve weathered a few storms though, I’ve learned that gulls got nothing to be ashamed of. Now when the storms creep in I have learned that binding together with all the other gulls out there just struggling to survive can make weathering the storm an adventure. Instead of being powerless all wind tossed and blown – we press down our little wings as hard as we can and fly face first into the storm, allowing it lift us effortlessly higher all the while enjoying the ride.
I’ve also learned that the harder the winds blow, the higher we can crest. Even though on the outside I may just be a gull I know that the harder the winds of opposition gust against me the broader I should spread my wings. Because I have learned that the harder they blast against me, the quicker I rise through the clouds to soar above the storm with wings like an eagle.