Perhaps one of the most wonderful assertions that can be made about Holy Scriptures is that it clearly shows man in all his humanness. If you really want to understand yourself, if you really desire to know who you are, then it would behoove you to study the sacred Writ and let God speak to your soul.
When we read David's Psalms (55:6), we immediately sense his state of emotional being. He is hurting deeply. Not physically, but emotionally and spiritually. His soul is heavy; his spirit is at an all time low, his heart pierced and his lips chapped with pain as he cries, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest."
This is a very human cry, is it not? Everyone at one time or another has felt the way David felt: those times in life when everything seems to go wrong; when everything we touch seem to disintegrate, when all news is bad news. Maybe you have felt that way when your doctor gives you the cancer diagnosis. Maybe it was when you suffered a financial reversal; just when you were about to get on your feet, the rug is pulled out from under you. Maybe it was when you suffered a family tragedy or when the plans you made begin to crumble. Maybe, it is during those moments of betrayal, extreme disappointment or profound loneliness that you find yourself like David, crying out in utter agony, "If only I had wings of a dove, I would fly away and be at rest."
The poet well understood this yearning when he wrote:
How often, oh, how often
In the days that had gone by,
I stood on the bridge at midnight
And gazed on the wave and sky.
How often, oh, how often
I had wished that the ebbing tide,
Would bear me way on its bosom
O'er the ocean, wild and wide.
For my heart was hot and restless
And my life was full of care,
And the burden laid upon me
Seemed greater than I could bear.
Sometimes all of us wish for wings to fly away. It is a very human cry and it comes in moments of intense frustration, pain and weakness. David wanted the wings of a bird to carry him beyond the sunset, beyond life's troubles, beyond broken hearts, beyond a tormented memory and unfaithful friends. Sometimes we feel this way. We wish we could fly away to a place beyond our circumstance, beyond the responsibility of trying to make a living, beyond the awareness of prejudice and injustice, beyond our mistakes and sins, heartaches and heartbreaks.
But, like David, we know that a change of venue will not give peace. Peace does not depend upon flight because we cannot get away from troubles. Troubles, like our shadows, follow us everywhere we go. David learned what we all must learn and that is that we do not need a new physical environment, but a new spiritual one. We do not need the wings of a dove, but the arms of a loving Father.
Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D.D., is an ordained clergywoman, social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. http://www.clergyservices4u.org. She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach. Her new book, Out of Deep Waters: My Grief Management Workbook, will be available soon.