In 1984 I was faced with the potential of an important career transition. I prayed for wisdom, discernment and guidance. I felt a strong call to go to work for the national church foundation of the denomination we were affiliated with at the time. However it was going to mean a 50% cut in pay to go to work for the church. It didn’t make a lot of sense to people that I would leave a very successful insurance & securities business that I had built up for the past 8 years. My head was spinning. I went back and forth comparing the comforts of my current career and not rocking the family boat or follow my heart which held a lot of uncertainties.
I decided to take off work for a week and started to paint our house as a distraction from my dilemma. One morning I was on the ladder and found myself looking down into a robin’s nest. It was crowded with three fluffy feathered babies. I watched this scene for hours as the mother robin tended to her family by discarding debris from the nest and then fishing for worms to bring up to the nest. I kept my distance as not to disturb her comings and goings.
The thought occurred to me. “How will these baby robins learn to fly?” The nest was perched on the top of our front door light and 7-8 feet below was solid cement. The mother robin was now across the street in our neighbor’s front yard singing away. I observed one of the babies jump up on the edge of the nest with unsure legs wobbling. I remember thinking that this little creature was risking a fall and sudden death. In a split second that little bird leaped (and so did my heart) and flew gracefully across our front yard, across the street and landed by its mother. Without a moment’s notice the second and then the third baby robin followed suit and before I could catch my breath, the nest was empty.
I came down off the ladder and sat under the tree in our front yard and cried like a baby. I couldn’t help but think I just witnessed the voice of God through nature. I went inside and grabbed a pen and paper and went back outside and sat under the tree and wrote this poem and later put music to it. It has become popular with audiences I’ve spoken to over the years. The song/poem has introduced me to many people who were in the middle of making an important decision in their life. And oh (by the way) I/we took a leap of faith and followed my call to work for the church and I’ve never regretted the sacrifice.
Leap of Faith
We can learn a lesson from the creatures here on earth,
Just by observation from the time they first give birth.
Their instincts are so natural; they seem to know their way.
Something deep inside of them must tell them it’s okay.
The infant birds depend upon their mother for their bread.
Her earthly deeds ensure their care and so it goes unsaid.
They grow each day with confidence and when that time arrives.
They stand up tall and spread their wings and start a whole new life.
I watched that little robin take a flying leap of faith.
My eyes began to swell a bit as I saw it fly away.
That bird had never tested first to see if its wings would work.
A lesson that I learned about faith from a creature here on earth.
No matter what we do in life we know the day will come,
When something causes fear in us and challenges us some.
So when you see a robin on the ground or in the sky,
Remember how they had to leap before they learned to fly.
Take a flying leap of Faith; you hold it in your hand.
By taking a few risks in life you’re sure to understand,
The feeling of self-confidence and the strength you feel inside.
Just how robins feel when they allow their wings to guide.
Written by David L. Burrier © 1984