"The pursuit is dangerous, the path is difficult. Only those centered in their Creator should take it."
". . . . returning home".
There once was a young Indian warrior who, passing by the village campfire one night, overheard several of the village elders talking about receiving objects that would bring great power; great honor, wisdom, and prestige. He didn’t know much about such things, but he thought to himself that it would be wonderful if he could receive such an object – “which could only be bestowed by the Creator,” he heard one of the old ones say. “The most important object anyone could receive would be an Eagle feather,” whispered the Elderly Chief. “That would bring the highest of honors. But the pursuit is difficult – the path is dangerous. Only those who are centered on their Creator should make such a journey; only those who are centered,” whispered the old one, the light of the night fire dancing on his leathery face.
The young warrior decided that that was the object he must receive. If he could obtain an Eagle feather, he thought to himself, he would have all the power, wisdom, and prestige he desired. But he knew the elders were right. He couldn’t buy one, and he couldn’t ask anyone to give him one. Somehow it had to come to him by the Creator’s will.
That night, hiding in the shadows, listening to the rhythmic chanting of those much older and wiser than he, the young naive warrior determined within him to begin his quest. Where he should go? - he wasn’t certain. How long it would take him? - he hoped for a short journey. But, little did the warrior understand, that by not knowing where he was to go, he would never know when he had actually arrived.
Confident in his journey, the young warrior set off, saying goodbye to his family and friends, determined that he would be back soon with all of the honor and wisdom one man could achieve. ‘Oh how proud my family will be when I return,’ he thought.
Day after day he searched for the Eagle feather. He was sure one would come to him if he was persistent in his effort. So, the young warrior thought of nothing else. The Eagle feather occupied all of his thoughts from sunup to sundown.
Weeks passed, then months, then years. Every day the ever-determined warrior looked for his Eagle feather – looking everywhere, no matter how difficult the path. Noticeably, he paid less and less attention to his family and friends. And little did he realize, that like a young spring fawn wandering away from the protection of its mother and the rest of the herd - being distracted by its curiosity of life, each day the young warrior’s quest for the Eagle feather led him further and further from the protection and safety of his village, his family, and his Creator.
Finally, much older, startled at the care-warn face reflected back at him from the depths of a quiet meadow pond, he came to a painful knowing that no matter how hard or how far he had looked, at that moment he was still no closer to finding the feather than on the day he began his search.
One sun-drenched afternoon, as he sat on the banks of a quiet stream, he began a heartfelt conversation with his Creator. “I go forward and I cannot find; and backward and I still cannot see my way. I turn to the left, it is not there. I turn to the right and yet Wisdom is not found. There is a path that is not known to the Eagle and which the Hawks eyes have not seen. The mighty bear and her cubs have not trodden it, and the fierce mountain lion passes it by. But where is Wisdom found? Where is the place of my understanding? This warrior did not know the price. Is it found in the land of the living or need I wait to receive it from my ancestors? Where is Wisdom? Is there a place to find understanding? Seeing it is kept from my eyes and from the Eagle and the Hawk. I know that my Creator knows the way. He knows the place; for He sees all of the earth and into the great heavens. Oh, that I was in the days of my youth when the Creator preserved me. When the sun shone upon my head and by His light I walked through the darkness. I’m so tired of looking for my Eagle feather. Maybe I’m not supposed to have one. I’ve spent my whole life thinking about that feather. I’ve hardly given thought to my family and friends – and you my Creator. All I have cared about was finding the Eagle feather and the power and the wisdom it would bring me – but see how life has passed me by. I’ve missed out on a lot of good things. I’m now giving up my journey, my search,” the old warrior said resolutely, through tears of fatigue, disappointment and loneliness. “I’m going to stop looking for the feather and start living.”
The late afternoon sun glistened on the tear moistened face of the leathery old warrior. Stretching his hands skyward the old man pleaded with his Creator. “Please give me time enough to make it up to my family and those good friends that I miss and love so much. Please forgive me for the way I have conducted my life.”
In that moment there was a great stillness that wrapped the old warrior like a comfortable blanket. A great peace fell upon him. He felt better about himself than he had in all of the years of his searching for the illusive Eagle feather. He arose and stood gazing gratefully at the beauty of the valley that stretched before him; seeing as if through new eyes. Suddenly, he was surprised by a great shadow eclipsing the light of the sun. Holding his hands to shade his eyes, he looked up into the sun-bathed sky and saw, soaring high above him, a magnificent Eagle. It glided silently, suspended on the warm winds, flying high into the sky until it was gone from the warrior’s sight. But, still searching the vastness of the deep blue sky, the warrior saw something floating down ever so lightly on the warm afternoon breeze – a beautiful tail feather – the Eagle feather he had given most of his life trying to find.
As the sacred feather settled softly on the meadow grass, the warrior knelt in reverence. He picked up the feather delicately, cradling it in his careworn hands. Lifting his eyes again to the golden sky he thanked his Creator for that which he had looked for all these years – understanding that the feather had come to him not a single moment before he had stopped searching and made peace with his Creator. With tears streaming down his leathery careworn face, the old warrior seemed to hear a whisper in the passing wind as it gently played atop the tall meadow grass – “Wisdom and honor come only when you stop looking and start truly living the life the Creator intended for you . . . A man’s success is not reflected in his possessions but in how closely he walks with his Creator – What you sincerely feel of your Creator will determine what you are, and will determine what your acts will be . . . and finally – Nothing will ever be right in your life until your are first right with your Creator.”
The old warrior stood humbly, silhouetted against a blazing sunset, gently caressing the sacred Eagle feather, “Thank you Great Creator,” he whispered reverently to himself.
As he turned toward the direction of his home, again the winds whispered across the darkening meadow, “It is never too late, my son, to become what you were created to be. It is never too late.”
The End . . .
or maybe, it is just the Beginning.