Fish cannot drown in water
Birds cannot sink in air.
You cannot fall from my sight.
So why not soar?
Begin your retreat by breathing in and breathing out for a few moments. If you like, say this mantra to yourself. “I breathe in the Holy Spirit. I breathe out worry and anxiety.” When you are ready, read the four lines above.
Fish. Birds. You. What do you have in common? All life has a special place in the unfolding of God’s love in creation. All thrive in the place where they live. All are safe in the place they are suited for.
Pay attention to the verbs.
- Cannot drown.
- Cannot sink.
- Cannot fall.
Cannot can be a punishing word. “I just cannot do this.” “You cannot be my friend.” “Girls cannot play sports.” Mechtilde’s prayer-poem turns cannot into a positive, a cannot that frees us from worry. The fish, the symbol of the Christian from earliest times, cannot drown. The bird, the symbol of the soul, cannot sink. You, the Christian with God’s spirit within you, cannot fall into oblivion. You are always in God’s sight.
So why not soar? If you cannot drown or sink or fall, what can you do but soar? How can you soar? Not how can a Christian soar, but how can you soar? What does soaring look like for you? Where do you soar? What does it feel like? What do you see? How do the air and the sun and the breezes feel as you soar? What is the wind beneath your wings as you soar?
Thank God for holding you safe from falling. Thank God for the gift of soaring. Ask for attention to the Spirit in your life. Sing or say Amen.