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What can we learn from the geese?

Anna Heydon urges us to take a lesson from the formation flying of geese as we cope with the busy-ness of our lives.

Queuing up and down the ‘Acle straight’ repeatedly for the school run over the last few months has been wearisome at times. However the tedium has been frequently eclipsed by the wonderful natural displays of birds on the marshes: the breath-taking phenomenon of starling murmurations, the exotic splendour of white egrets and glimpses of long-beaked waders which I don’t have the skills to identify!
There has been plenty of speculation about the purpose for geese travelling in this pattern. I’m certainly no expert, but from what I can glean online, the main theory is that it improves their efficiency, as they can make better use of the air currents. However, 2 additional pieces of information struck me. Firstly, the V-formation also allows the geese to keep track of each other. This means that if one goose is struggling the others will spot it, and will stick with the straggler until it is recovered. Secondly, the leader of the formation doesn’t stay the same. When the front goose tires (as it doesn’t have the slipstream advantage which the others have) it moves backwards and is replaced in its position at the front by another goose.
These insights made me wonder whether there are ways I can be more goose-like! Can I position myself to have a good view of how others are doing, and be ready to fly alongside them when needed? Will I be prepared to step forward and take a lead to ensure that others can have a break? But, importantly, will I also have the humility and honesty to admit when I’m exhausted and need to fall back and allow others to take the strain?
Jesus said “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Whether you see yourself as a leader of the flock, or feel that you are a straggler at the back of the crowd, we all need to rest. It’s important that we look out for each other, but when it all feels too much and no-one seems to be available when you need them, Jesus is always there and is willing to carry your weariness and worries so that you can have true rest. 

This article has also been published at Imagine Norfolk Together.org.uk.

The photo is courtesy of Dan Hussey on Pexels


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Anna Heydon is Development Worker for Imagine Norfolk Together in Great Yarmouth, a joint venture between the Diocese of Norwich and the Church Urban Fund, a national organisation set up by the Church of England to combat unmet needs in communities.

 Imagine Norfolk Together 


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