Today’s Peacock is Tomorrow’s Feather Duster*
Someone once told me:
As soon as you recognize your own humility,
you’re no longer humble.
A baffling statement in that moment,
I have turned it
over and over
in my mind and heart
The wisdom of it escaped me
until recently while reading a favorite spiritual author,
whose father often reminded him:
…today’s peacock is tomorrow’s feather duster.
Those words produced in me
an image of myself as a peacock,
adoring the beauty of my own feathers
while losing sight of my vast worldly surroundings –
rivers flowing beside me,
insects flitting about,
fruit trees so majestic and mighty
they conceal the threat of the hunter.
A crackle of dead leaves on the forest floor
steals my trance away
from the colors of my self
that have stunned my own awareness
and the last thing I see,
before becoming a feather duster,
is the barrel of the hunter’s gun
aimed steadily on me.
My eyes blink back to the words I was reading
and the wisdom of it all
flows through and over and all around me.
I smile through tears
as the Word now becomes my flesh:
“…do not let your left hand know
what your right hand is doing…”
and it all makes sense.
*With gratitude for:
- All those who have gone before me, for sharing generously the wisdom that so often baffled me at first.
- Parker Palmer, for writing On the Brink of Everything
- The Gospel of Matthew, for recording the words of Jesus in Chapter 6, Verse 3