I created the picture Blois on Eagle’s Wings a part of which you see as the theme above by combining Ronald Carlson’s American Eagle with Lynn Greyling’s Parachutist. I added my face to the parachutist. The inspiration for this came from the period of residency at Royal Roads University during our Master in Education Leadership and Management (MAELM) program .
The story began with an eagle passing overhead as I reflected on the quality of team communication. “Is this the same eagle that my Coast-Salish friend pointed out last week,” I wondered, “after sharing his story, singing, and teaching me his song?” I had a strong feeling that I would meet someone important the day before meeting that first-nations man. We were intended by God–destined–to meet. That team communication was interesting, too, because it was guided by dreams. But enough about that now. Those two stories deserve to be told at another time, lest I digress.
The program coursework and schedule was intensive and packed. Team projects and papers to write placed extra demands on our time outside the class. I began to miss my children so much, yet when I got home even debated whether I had time to read the book that my daughter had picked out from her school library and asked me to read.
Happily, I hesitated only for a moment. I am glad I made time to read it. I was in awe at what I saw. Lo and behold, the eagle had returned on the cover!
Jane Goodall (2000) describes a competition among birds to fly the highest. Many birds were disappointed when they returned to the ground. The ostrich shared with them an optimistic view, “You all have done as well as nature intended … each of you flies to a different height for a different purpose” (p. 13).
Riding high up on the eagle’s back, hidden amidst the feathers, a little wren emerged and flew yet higher. “I couldn’t have flown so high by myself,” the wren said, assuring the eagle, “Don’t worry, you won the contest” (p. 30). The wren was interested in more than the victory, “I always wondered what the world looked like from high, high up at the top of the sky. Now I know. I’ll always remember this. Thank you” (p. 31).
After the eagle and the wren returned to the ground, the owl explained that they had reached a “height never reached by any bird before” (p. 33).
I understood the important message in the story.
This great accomplishment was thanks to their teamwork!
A question remained. What does it symbolize? Am I the eagle or the wren?
The next eagle came at our banquet after I shared this story. My table-mate was inspired to share the song, On Eagle’s Wings. Digging a little deeper later on, I found my answer: the eagle refers to God[i]. This was the second song I learned during residency. The eagle, as a good omen, represents that Source of Guidance and Inspiration. What a pleasing experience to have had. How fortunate!
I thought that the story would end there.
The eagle surprised me one last time, appearing once again at the Land and Sea Mural on the final evening of the conclusion of residency. Native Baha’i Jacob Bighorn was quoted to have said, “If you live a life of service to your people, the eagles will come to guide your spirit when it’s time to leave this earth.” This speaks to the attractive theme of service oriented leadership. The purpose of service, said Covey (2004), will not only fuel our inner drive, it will also improve our relationships (p. 293).
[i] The song is based on the Bible, and the references to God can be seen from: Psalms 91:4, God “shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust” (Thompson, 1964, p. 583); Isaiah 40:31, “they that wait upon the Lord … shall mount up with wings as eagles” (p. 675); Deuteronomy 32:11-12, “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the Lord alone did lead him” (p. 217).