“In order to fly, you have to let go of the world that you’re hanging onto.” – Kurek Ashley –

Since I can remember, my greatest fear has been failure. This pursuit to succeed has blinded me in certain aspects of life. As I grow older, I begin to understand that we are not without fault and must learn from failure or adversity rather than fear it. We must replace the past with the future.

We must also go through the difficult process of getting rid of old habits, tools, and things that once made us strong, but become a burden of weakness.

The Bald Eagle is the iconic image of the United States. This image radiates strength, courage, and tenacity.

The Eagle has the longest life-span of its species. It can live up to 70 years.
Generally speaking, eagles live around 30 years in the wild. But, legend tells us that a few can live up to 70 years if the Eagle is willing to go through a painful process. 

But, to reach this age, the Eagle must make a hard decision in its 40th year; 10 years after it should already be dead.

At year 40, its long and flexible talons can no longer grab prey which serves as food. Its long and sharp beak becomes bent. Its old, aged, and heavy wings, due to their thick feathers, stick to its chest and make it difficult to fly.

Then, the Eagle is left with only two options: die a slow death or go through a painful process of change which lasts 150 days. The process of change is risky, but can add decades to the life of the bird.

When a brave Eagle decides to go through with this painful process, it will fly to a mountaintop and sit on its nest. There, the Eagle knocks its beak against a rock until it plucks it out. The Eagle will wait for a new beak to grow back.

An Eagle’s beak is made of keratin, like human fingernails. Like our fingernails, an Eagle’s beak is constantly growing. Eagles tear at tough foods and wipe their beaks against hard objects like branches or even rocks to keep them clean. This process also helps keep the beak in magnificent shape throughout an eagle’s entire life. The loss of a break in the wild would be certain death to any bird of prey.

Then, it will pluck out its talons. The talons are also made of keratin. The talons too are constantly growing. Grabbing and killing prey keeps the talons sharp as well as prevents them from becoming too long. If they got soft, there would be something seriously wrong with the bird. The talons are what an eagle uses to catch food. To pluck them out would not only be extremely difficult and painful, but would also take away their ability to provide food for themselves.

When its new talons grow back, the Eagle starts plucking its old, aged feathers.
Birds naturally lose their feathers and regrow them in a process called molting. Eagles go through a molt roughly once a year throughout their lives. During a molt, old feathers naturally fall out and new ones grow in to take their place. There is no pulling off the feathers. Some bird species do lose most of their feathers at one time and are forced to hide until they grow back, but not raptors like eagles. Flight feathers drop out one by one and are replaced one by one, not all at once so that the animal can continue to fly and catch food. Plus, jerking out its feathers could also cause permanent damage the feather follicle so no feather grows back. Without feathers, a bird is unable to fly. If they cannot fly they cannot hunt for food or escape predators that cross their path. Both cases would obviously lead to the death of the bird.

If the Eagle survives this process, in five months, the Eagle takes its famous flight of rebirth and lives for another 30 to 40 years.

During this Easter season, let’s be reminded that we can also change habits, behavior, interactions with others, and pluck out aspects of our life that are not healthy to regrowth and are hampering our flight. It is always painful in some aspect. But, in the end, the courageous will have new life through our Savior who sacrificed his life so that we could live.

Happy Easter Everyone.