Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Turkey Vultures

On first, second and third sight, turkey vultures are no bastions of beauty. Their heads are red and naked. No headress, no crown, no excitable crest. Shriveled and bald is the mark of their Avian Order. They have blackish feathers, with a nearly eagle-sized wing span of 6 feet. They soar and circle on thermals, with wings held slightly above the dihedral. They have amazing eyesight and a highly developed sense of smell. They eliminate waste over their own legs and feet.

I respect this bird above all others. Beauty aside, there is great purpose in the design of this bird. It has a tremendously needful niche in nature. Turkey vultures are members of the raptor family, yet they do not kill their own prey. They are scavengers of the dead and decomposing. Their bald head allows them to dip their beaks into the rotting entrails and flesh, thereby cleaning the environment of infections and bacteria that would otherwise spread. Eliminating waste over their own legs purifies themselves of harmful organisms. Turkey vultures are the disease prevention task force of the wild.

These birds are specialized and amazing. They have a very specific role to play in the balance of the world. No, they can't compete with swans or cardinals for ornithological centerfolds, but they have richness and purpose. They have their own brand of majesty.

So too do we have richness and purpose and majesty. Very few of us are swans and cardinals. But we each have an incredible niche role to play in this world. We are each designed to be highly specialized in our offering to the betterment of humankind. We each possess a role and talent that no other human can offer to the mix. We must humbly ask our Maker to reveal that role, that talent. We must ask until it is made clear. And when it is made clear, we must use ourselves and use ourselves and use ourselves to clean the world of it's false darkness and disease.

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