Wednesday, January 2, 2013


When I was just a kid, there was a nature program on T.V. called Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, hosted by Marlin Perkins. I seem to remember that it aired on Sunday's just after the football game would end and before the evening news would come on. The show focused on life in the wild, highlighting the beauty, savagery, grace, warmth, and cunning of animals all over the world. Elephants, gnus, alligators, foxes, otters, big cats, you name it. However, I remember with some clarity an episode where they featured birds of prey. I have film clips stored in my mind of these powerful birds streaking out of the sky and snatching up some poor unsuspecting rodent or jack rabbit in their sinewy talons. The next scene was always the feeding sequence as the bird, in total control, had its fill.

This powerful image bubbled up to the surface of my consciousness recently as I felt myself in the death grip of personal turmoil. I have always been one to collapse under the weight of relational conflict. Even a raised voice in my direction can stay with me for days. It can cause me to avoid certain people altogether for fear of upsetting the delicate balance of peace that I seem to cling to all too tentatively. A bigger problem is that the fear of conflict has caused me to avoid necessary interactions with folks that I care deeply about.

The talon of fear has left me impotent in a number of respects and my condition has seemingly gotten worse with age. There are even a few people in my life who systematically use this against me to take advantage of situations so that they can get their way. Oh I so long to break free and once again find my freedom.