Have you ever wondered why migrating geese fly in V-formation? As with most animal behavior, it shows us a valuable principle of mutual aid.
As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird following. By flying in their V-group formation, the whole flock adds more flying range than if each bird flew alone.
When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the resistance and quickly gets back in to take advantage of that lifting power of the bird immediately in front.
When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into formation and another goose flies at the point. The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
When a goose gets sick or wounded, or shot down, two others drop out of formation and follow to help and protect. They stay until the ailing member is either able to fly again, or dies. Then they launch out either on their own, with another group, or to catch up with the flock.
I cannot say, as I have heard other parents say, “My child has always been a joy and pleasure, never gave me a minute’s trouble.” I cannot say that.
I had a son who was always trouble. He was born cross and irritable, a real trial from the word “go” He seemed to be in protest at having been born from his very first breath and outcry, through the rest of his life. His 37 years of life were one long outcry of protest, misery and unhappiness.
He expressed his tormented spirit through music, poetry and a beautiful American Indian spirituality. But in spite of the pain that was in his heart, he had a wide smile and a hearty, big laugh for everyone that belied the torment that raged inside him. He had a strange, mysterious wild charm, to which all who met him
He seemed to be born in the wrong time, the wrong culture, with a crippled spirit and a body that carried a fatal flaw the fatal flaw of addiction. He put himself and his family through the agony of the damned. Step by step, he destroyed himself, as we watched with grieving hearts. He rejected every effort to save him.
Then came that fateful week. Some mystery reached out for him. His body, his spirit, defied every weapon at science’s disposal to diagnose and save him – and one by one, his vital functions failed – and he was GONE. The word “forever” suddenly had a new and terrible meaning.
So, he was hard to love. But, WE LOVED HIM EVERY STEP OF THE WAY. We had him because we wanted him and we loved him every minute of his life. Our grief has been no less because he was not a perfect child. It has just been an extension of the grief we lived with all those years, as we watched him destroy himself, an extension of the agony that we were helpless against: the MONSTER called addiction that destroyed him.
Yesterday was his birthday. I longed for the sight and sound of him, and that wild, melancholy charm that vanished a year and a half ago. My heart stays full of tears; they are always just beneath the surface. I struggle daily to keep them out of sight of my fellow man, who does not want to share my pain. So, I come home and sit on my porch in the dark; listen to the night sounds, stare into space. And I cry – and I cry –
for my CHILD WHO WASN’T PERFECT.
Lee’s Mom, Jane Miller – The Compassionate Friends / Atlanta
“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air...but only for one second without hope.”
― Hal Lindsey