Monday, April 30, 2012

Doors of Opportunity

I’m blessed that friends near and far read my blog and join me on this amazing grace journey.   A dear friend that distance never lessens our love and appreciation for one another shared this with me today.   I trust it will bless each of you who take the time to be washed by these truths.

Doors of Opportunity usually Swing Open on the Hinges of Adversity.

Spring has come to the northeast, and with the weather mild and sunny, my husband and I decided to take our children to visit the zoo. We, along with scores of other people with smiles on their faces, went through the entrance gate and canvassed exhibit after exhibit, peering in awe at the amazing creatures.

Enjoying nature's splendor, we walked up a tree-lined short path, and stopped to marvel at the natural beauty of the towering 17-foot giraffes and their offspring basking in the zoo's open woodland. One little giraffe, was sitting on the ground next to the mother, but in an instant, the baby got up and was on her feet. Then, the calf seemed to wobble and fall down. Yet effortlessly, the calf stood back up again.

My oldest daughter's hair fluttered about her face in the breeze and her blue-green eyes were wide open with curiosity, as she said to me, "Mom, with their long legs, I am surprised how quickly the calves are able to stand up."

I took these photos two summers ago of the mom and daughter giraffe – Abigail was only about 4 weeks old when we saw her. 

You can see the entire set by click on the next photo.

I agreed.And at that moment, I recalled a book that I had read years ago about calves that taught me a valuable life lesson. "Well, honey," I answered my daughter, as we stood still, arm in arm, "The calves have to get up quickly if they tumble, because if they're in the wild, they can fall prey to other animals."

Continuing, I told my daughter that when a mother giraffe gives birth, she does so standing, and the calf then drops to the ground from about six feet up, and typically head first. Quickly, I assured, "The fall does not hurt the calf. However, almost immediately after birth, the mother teaches the calf, by actually knocking the baby down, to stand up on its own legs.She knocks the calf down repeatedly, for the mother giraffe wants to strengthen her little one in an effort to try to keep the calf safe for the challenges ahead."

"Mom, the calf learns to 'get up' by being 'knocked down?'" My daughter asked.

"Precisely," I uttered. And as if reading my mind, I knew she sensed what I was saying.

When we arrived home, I went into the office to skim my shelf for the book, 'A View from the Zoo,' by Gary Richman. I found the copy and sat down on my wingback chair and began to read once more how the author described the birth of a baby giraffe:

"The mother giraffe lowers her head long enough to take a quick look. Then she positions herself directly over her calf. She waits for about a minute, and then she does the most unreasonable thing. She swings her long, pendulous leg outward and kicks her baby, so that it is sent sprawling head over heels.

"When it doesn't get up, the violent process is repeated over and over again. The struggle to rise is momentous. As the baby calf grows tired, the mother kicks it again to stimulate its efforts. Finally, the calf stands for the first time on its wobbly legs. Then the mother giraffe does something remarkable. She kicks it off its feet again. Why? She wants it to remember how it got up...

"I've thought about the birth of the giraffe many times. I can see its parallel in my own life. There have been many times when it seemed that I had just stood up after a trial, only to be knocked down by the next. It was God helping me to remember how it was that I got up, urging me always to walk with Him, in His shadow, under His care."

Perhaps, you have been knocked down time and again.

Maybe, you experienced an emotional 'kick.' Or have suffered through various trials.

But let's keep in mind that the events in our lives, even the most difficult, have meaning and value. All of our experiences, good or bad, haven't been wasted. It is those experiences, molded together, that allow you to help others, to understand their pain, and shape you into the person you are destined to be. And similar to the baby calves, our challenges, obstacles and 'kicks' are a call to strengthen us, not to defeat us.

God created you with a vast inner determination and resilience. You have special gifts and abilities. Therefore, despite how many setbacks you have had, press on, daring to reach forth for your heart's desires. Stop looking at where you've been and begin to focus on where you can be today and tomorrow! Expand your range of possibilities. Go further. Don't wait. And if you stumble along the way or if someone trips you, get back up and start to move forward again. God is with you, so rest in His care, timing and sovereign purpose. It is just a matter of time before you accomplish your dreams. So boldly look with hope and confidence to the future.Victories are forthcoming, with more joys, more blessings and more rewards, in store for you.

I still wonder sometimes why the knocks and kicks in my own life are so many. But then I receive a letter from a reader who says, "I feel like you are writing these words for me," "I want you to know how you have changed my life," and "Thank you for being there..."

And instantly, with startling clarity...I know.

Catherine Galasso-Vigorito
Nationally Syndicated columnist and author

Wishing you all a beautiful and blessed day!

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