We live in a beautiful spot on the Arkansas River and enjoy seeing an abundance of wildlife. My husband is especially impressed with pelicans. He always calls out when he sees them on the river and remarks how big they are. I’m not a fan of birds (lengthy horror stories associated with that) but yesterday he was particularly excited when he saw a pelican floating close by. I indulged him by grabbing the camera with the zoom lens and capturing this shot.

Although it often reflects the surrounding mountains with a glassy stillness, the river has a strong undercurrent flowing to the East. On a windy day, surface waves often flow in the opposite direction. The pelicans have a peculiar behavior on days like that. They will float against the wind on the rough water and make no forward movement. It’s very strange to see them remain in the same place when the river is flowing strongly. I wonder if their webbed feet are paddling furiously beneath the surface only to remain in one spot?

I’ve learned that pelicans eat by submerging their head deep beneath the surface and scooping fish filled water into their large pouched bill. They tip their head back, let the water drain from their pouch, and swallow any captured fish. So perhaps the pelican who appears stuck in one place is just waiting for food to come to him? Rather than fight the current or the wind, he simply paddles to achieve stillness and is nourished.

 We all have our days when we are swimming upstream. But do we ever dial down the paddling so we can remain where the nourishment is? I’m thankful for the pelican on a windy day. It reminds me that expending unnecessary energy robs me of the nourishment that surrounds me.  I need to dip my head deep into God’s Word. I need to do my part and not get swept away with the current, but I do not need to fight the wind. I am not superwoman. God has given me instruction for faith and he gives me spiritual nourishment. I must balance upstream days. I need both the refreshment of being still and the discipline of staying still.

Are you swimming upstream? Paddling against the wind? I challenge you to be like the pelican; do only what you are equipped and expected to do when facing the wind in a river of refreshment and allow God to nourish you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s