Thursday, May 26, 2011

Learning to Fly

I must apologize to this poor little blog of mine for the terrible neglect it has experienced this month. I have no excuses, really... I still have my laptop, I still know how to read and write, and there's still magic everywhere to be written about. If anything, I should be writting more, with all the time I've got on my hands at work. I solemnly promise that I shall get with the program from hear on out - both to my blog and to my faithful readers.

My four year old brother Nathan said something particularly striking to me a couple evenings ago. He seemed a little sad - as sometimes he wilfully chooses to be - so I asked him what was wrong. He looked up at me with a sad little sigh and said, "I forgot to learn how to fly."

Now Nathan is a superhero in a little boy's clothing. I'm sure that what he was referring to was something like Clark Kent's version of flight. I, however, was reminded of something else.

You all are familiar with Peter Pan, I am sure - whether through book or stage or silver screen. The little boy from Neverland who never wanted to grow up, who ran around fighting pirates and indians every afternoon, and who lived in a tree with the Lost Boys and a fairy friend named Tinkerbell. The little boy who could fly. "All it takes is faith and trust and a little bit of pixie dust."

I was reminded of a moment at the end of the stage version of Peter's story. Peter returns to the nursery for Wendy, as he does every year at Spring Cleaning time. But the girl he finds there is not Wendy, but her daughter, Jane. Wendy has grown up. Not realizing as much at first, Peter tries to take Wendy with him, but she pulls back, saying, "I can't, Peter. I've forgotten how to fly."

Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

We live in a world where faith and trust have begun to diminish. Science has explained everything, so who needs faith? A person is expected to make something of themselves, be independent, get something done right by doing it themselves - so why keep trust? We have bullet trains and boeing 747s and cars of every assortment of color to get us where we're going. We have money and influence and technology to give us a boost. So who needs to fly?

I would argue that it is simply for the sake of flying.

We continue to have faith because we need to believe in something - anything - to keep ourselves going. We continue to trust because when life begins to press upon us and we cannot keep our footing any more, we need someone else to pick us up and help us finish the journey. We may not have pixie dust, but these needs - these absolute human necessities - help us to fly when everything else in the world is fighting gravity's battle, keeping us anchored to the bustle and pain and weariness of the world. They bring us above it all and give us room to spread our wings and imagine what adventures may lie in wait, just beyond the horizon.

Little children, like my brother, know this better than anyone. A child will believe in anything without anyone telling them to - like faeries and monsters in the closet and Santa Clause at Christmastime. They will run to their mother or father or sibling in a heartbeat, never questioning the safety and comfort those open arms proclaim themselves to offer. They hardly need to be taught - they simply fly, without a thought.

Despite the dark and difficult world we live in, have faith and trust. Don't lose faith, but believe in something. Always remember those who are cheering for you. You are never alone, and must never despair. Though the world may seem bleak, the sun is only moments away from rising.

No matter how old you are or how long you have been away from Neverland, never forget how to fly. You learned as a child. You know how it's done. Just remember, believe in yourself, spread your wings - and soar.

'Til next time, my friends...

1 comment:

  1. I have to tell you, Peter Pan is my favorite! I read the book on my way home from Kentucky last summer and it touched me. I think reading that lifted me up right before I had to deal with some really rough things. You're such a good writer and the most wonderful cousin! I love you lots!
    Love Mio