Being born slowly


Living is being born slowly: it would be a little too easy if we could borrow ready-made souls.

– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Flight to Arras

Once upon a time there was an angel so new she had no wings yet.  She was taken to the wing-fitting-room and shown there hundreds upon thousands of pairs of wings.

“Wings are what you need in order to fly,” she was told.

So, she went along the rows looking for her wings. Some were far too big, or far too small; she could see that straight away and didn’t bother trying those ones on. Others she did try on, but they weren’t hers, and couldn’t make her fly. Some came pretty close to fitting, and it with these ones that she tried the hardest: running, jumping, leaping and flapping as hard as she could.  But it was no use, and she crashed down harder in those nearly-right wings than in any of the others.

She watched as her friends found their wings and soared above her.

“Come and join us!”, they cried, “Flying is wonderful!”

But she couldn’t, she had no wings to fly with.

In desperation, she cried out,

“It’s too hard! There are so many wings to try. I don’t know what the right pair looks like, I don’t know what I’m looking for, how will I ever find my wings?”

She sat down.

“Perhaps it’s better not to look anymore. Perhaps I will give up now, then I’ll never crash land again. I’ll never be hurt again.”

She sat very still for a long time. Eventually, she said to herself,

“If I never put on another pair of wings, I will never crash, but neither will I fly. Wings are like hopes – they are here to be tested. Some will hurt us when they let us down, but the ones that are right are the difference between standing on the ground and flying through the sky. So I will go on looking for my wings. Just because there are ones out there that are wrong, does not mean that there are none that are right.”

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