A Triple Eagle
Shortly after Christmas, I was still off work with the family and we were becoming accustomed to having a newborn in the house. Our younger children were getting cabin fever, going crazy running around the house screaming at the top of their lungs, half from boredom and half from being kids.
I decided I would take them to Wal-Mart so they could spend some of their Christmas money. As my parents used to say to me, it was burning a hole in their pockets. Also, I thought my wife and newborn could use a break from the craziness. As we left my hometown where I grew up and had spent almost 40 years, we passed a field where I saw three bald eagles. It looked as if it was a mother and two younglings out in the field with her, I assume teaching the young ones what to look for to thrive.
I almost screamed in amazement, and my children looked at me as if I had lost my mind and asked, “What’s wrong, Daddy?” I pulled off to the side of the road and had them look up close at what I had just seen. I received a disheartened “Wow” from the girls. I was completely lost in their lack of interest in this.
A Generational Divide
Yet, as I have thought about it I am not as surprised. I grew up in the ’80s and ’90s. (Or as I have heard many of the younger people put it lately, “The Late 1900s”. Children always have a way of making you feel old without trying). We didn’t have Bald Eagles in Southern Illinois in my youth. If we did they were so rare I never saw one. I grew up in the time of the “yuppies” and “latch-key kids”, and when electronic numbers on a ticker tape mattered more than most things. The only times I saw bald eagles were in encyclopedias (for the younger generation this was our Google), National Geographic specials, or U.S. history books.
In fact, when I was a child they were on the Endangered Animals list and were at the extreme threshold of extinction. Yet, here I got gob-smacked and stood amazed that two fields outside of my hometown here were three beautiful, majestic, very large animals. I will not lie–I was close to tears because they were so beautiful. My children sat there and looked at me like I had lost my mind. “Dad, it’s just a bird”. “Just a bird?” I replied. “Yeah!” they both exclaimed. I have been at a loss for words until today.
An Issue of Truth
We (the world) have not got a lot of things right. As I grew up, I watched villages grow into towns and towns grow into subdivisions and subdivisions into cities. Kids were allowed to roam the streets until the lights came on without worry of people crazy enough to kidnap us or worse. I have seen wars fought over resources, land, and religion. We have most of the time put growth and money above all else–to the detriment of our world. We have children who speak louder than adults about the growing concern about what we are doing to the world we live in.
This is not a mere human opinion: The Bible instructs on these issues, from literally the beginning of human existence:
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”Genesis 1:26
And two verses later:
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”Genesis 1:28
In this brief moment, I saw this small thing in the measure of the world just three birds – three beautiful, amazing, majestic, God-created birds and I have not lost all hope for mankind. These animals were brought back from near extinction and cared for by people who, as good stewards of God’s creation, worry about the place where we are leaving our children and I was amazed. I was amazed at what I can do–what we can do to make it better.
Ultimately I was ecstatic, and even though my children thought their dad had gone crazy, I know we still have a chance to make things better.
[This was written by Guest Contributor Justin Mandrell. Justin lives in Sesser, IL with his wife and four children and serves in numerous capacities at Bear Point FWB Church. He previously wrote for our site about the need for church community. That article can be found here. The author would like to extend a special thanks to Mr. Jim Muir for helping edit this article.]