Free to Fly (a parable)

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness  Nancy Virden (c)2013

At first, she was so small that many believed she was insignificant, just one of similar myriads.  Her mother did what she could to meet her daughter’s needs, however while the younger survived her earliest days, her life remained difficult.

Driven by a natural desire for independence, she ventured out from what little security she knew.  She expressed what she thought was all she had to offer.

As people began to notice her, their responses varied.  “Ugly! Stomp her!”  or  “So special!” They despised and ran screaming from her, or studied her with curiosity. She tried to blend in, to hide in plain sight. No one loved her for who she could be one day.

Time brought change as it does for everyone. She set out to meet her own needs. These were good days of rest as she focused on nourishment and ignored the world. Once bigger and stronger, her future looked bright. No longer content to remain in the shadows, she grabbed a second opportunity to face life in the open.

She was searching for peace, a place to belong and no longer suffer. It appeared to be an endless walk and she received little respect. Time passed as life’s harsh winds swirled about and torrential storms sometimes obliterated the path. No one offered support. The last steep mountain of hardship overwhelmed her, and she ceased striving. Finally wrapping herself in seclusion, she waited for the end.

From the outside, people could not see anything but a dry, presumably dead leftover. Nonetheless, buried inside her despair, she was putting up the ultimate fight. An ancient, forgotten dream revived, and once again she saw possibilities. This time, she could almost taste freedom. Could it be true?

Maybe someday she would fly!

She dug into the new task of changing those characteristics that had held her back. It was wrenching, painful, and slow. Exchanging an old self for a new one caused all her other troubles to fade in comparison. From inside out, a complete metamorphosis was taking place.

Adjustment was a struggle too, but easier because her dream was now within reach. She had done the work and was prepared. She only had to let go of the safe captivity of her own making. Looking out over the world, she noticed sky instead of cold earth. With a final breath and leap of faith, she rejoiced in her freedom.

And flew!


She realized the pain of the past had brought her to this moment. It had all been worth it – the suffering, learning, trying, and hoping. For nothing can compare to the taste of victory a survivor can learn to know.


*********  NOTE: I am not a trained or licensed mental health professional. I am not a doctor. I speak only from my experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

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