Of Pigeons and Flying Home

It was in the dark days of World War I. The men spent long, bloody days in the trenches marking the boundaries of no man’s’ land. Radios were sometimes used for communication but had the danger of being intercepted by the enemy. So enters the humble pigeon. Neither mighty nor glorious, these little birds have the unique ability of finding “home” wherever they were and so were used to deliver short messages, attached to their legs.

One American battalion was separated from the rest of the troops. They found themselves not just under German fire but also under artillery fire from their own men. They had no radios and were separated physically. Sending a pigeon was their only option. One bird was sent and shot down. Another sent and shot down. Cher Ami was the third little bird sent aloft from these trenches. He too was shot in the chest and plummeted to the battlefield. And yet this tenacious little bird resumed his flight. Though decimated by a bloody human war (he lost both a leg and an eye as well as the chest wound), he bravely flew across the vast stretch of battle with his crucial message. Upon receiving it, the American artillery ceased fire on their own men and fired instead upon the enemy.

It seems both strange and beautiful to think of this one little bird, so determined to get home, as to persevere through multiple bullet wounds and the barren landscape of No Man’s Land. And yet, we can understand that longing for home. We, too, must persevere through the barren wilderness of our lives. Sometimes, we are wounded. Sometimes, we must fly alone. Sometimes, we lose our comrades in arms.

And yet, we must keep flying.

Lives are at stake. Eternity hangs in the balance. And there are those who need us to keep carrying the vital message of life, until it is our time to finally, peacefully land home. And in that home, beyond the shores of life, we will find no more pain, no more battles, but rather peace.

May we each find the courage to keep flying home, even when it is hard to find hope. Our home – and our Father – await us.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. ~ James 1:12

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. ~ Romans 5:3-5

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. ~ Hebrews 10:36

Photo by Thomas Willmott on Unsplash

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