What’s bald and toothless, has two stomachs, sprints like Usain Bolt, and earned the undying respect of Benjamin Franklin? And should we care? Answer: Meleagris gallopavo, or wild turkey, a bird with secrets to share.
An ungainly foursome recently cruised our yard—one quirky photo-op.
I edged outside with my Lumix; they raced away.
The wild turkey can run 25 mph!* (see link below for the human comparison—on a treadmill.)
Flying full-tilt, a wild turkey clocks in at 55 mph!
Why this attention to speed on a site dedicated to sacred pauses?
You may recall Scottish Olympian and missionary Eric Liddell in “Chariots of Fire” saying: “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure.”
It set me thinking.
About myself I’d say, “God made me merciful. When I nurture others, I feel his pleasure,” and “God made me curious. When I learn, I feel his pleasure.”
Googling about our turkey gang, or posse, or raffle (never a flock) opened my mind to further insights. As the ancient prophet of Israel said: “. . . your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them (Is. 30:20B).
Turkey as mentor
For starters, a wild turkey enjoys vision three times superior to that of humans. Wild turkeys perceive the world in ways I can’t. They’re worth watching.
Our gang didn’t visit daily. But they haunted me.
I waited for insights to emerge.
“Turkey” as insult
Inept, stupid, ugly—in my youth, being called a turkey hurt.
Remember the too-stupid-to-shut-their-mouths-in-the-rain myth?
Snopes refutes this. A turkey, with its monocular vision (eyes on both sides of the head), does not drown gaping heavenward, eyes transfixed by rain. Gazing straight up, it couldn’t see rain if it tried.
Turkey as role model
We’ve hosted a savvy, itinerant tom and his harem, possibly a few jakes and jennies (teenagers). From a historical perspective, our visitors represent back-from-near-extinction survivors.
As are we all. Haven’t numerous crises over the years nearly taken us out?
Yet here we are, approaching Thanksgiving and maybe already calling to mind things we’re grateful for, in case we’re asked to propose a toast, or pray over the feast.
A new take on gratitude
Fill in the Liddell blanks: What adjectives and nouns describe you?
God made me _______. When I ___________, I feel his pleasure.
Not that we need to “perform” to please. I believe we delight God simply by being ourselves.
And God-given gifts enrich us all.
Stymied by those two blanks? Ask yourself this: What makes me consistently lose track of time? Does this coincide with activities upon which people I trust compliment me? And do I shrug off those compliments because doing _____ comes easily?
Let’s talk turkey
Too often we stereotype individuals. Races. Our enemies. Especially these days. Birds of a feather . . .
What would happen if we viewed those we encounter with the Eric Liddell quote in mind? How has God shaped them, and how does this uniquely delight the Almighty?
Imagine how this mindset might impact our conversation. Shape our questions. Sharpen our listening.
Imagine how this might alter our world view . . .
MAKE IT PERSONAL: Consider asking someone you trust to respond to the blanks you filled in. Or ask them to supply an adjective and noun they feel describes you.
Consider using the Liddell quote this week as a guide for conversation with someone you want to know better.
*To appreciate wild turkey launch speed from a standstill, watch Arizona Cardinal rookie Robert Gill rocket from standing (on a treadmill) to 25 mph: http://tinyurl.com/nlskwtw