Take the Leap
By Thirumur David Kiran
A couple of years ago, my work took me to California, during which time I had the privilege of visiting a zoo there. Now I am like a child when it comes to zoos. Something about wild animals has always intrigued me from the time I was small. I could—and often would—spend hours at the zoo wandering around and looking at all the animals in their cages, admiring their beauty and majesty. So I was excited about having the opportunity to go.
The zoo was a great experience. We had a wonderful time looking at, feeding, and sometimes even getting to touch the animals in their cages.
We were passing through the African safari section of the zoo when we came across the place where the deer cages were located. There, in the middle of all the other cages, was a cage that immediately caught my attention. It seemed to stand out amongst all the enclosures—not for its size (as it was quite small), but rather for its seeming lack of practicality.
The particular cage in question was about 12 square feet in diameter with walls that were about three feet high. It was an enclosure that housed baby Impalas until they were big enough to join the rest of the herd. What struck me most about this cage was the seeming lack of thought that had been put into it. The question on my mind sprung from hours of watching documentaries about animals in the wild—“Don’t impalas jump?”
Curiosity got the better of me as I walked over to one of the zookeepers who was standing nearby. Reaching him, I pointed out to the cage and said, “Um, those are impalas, right?”
He responded, “Oh yes indeed! And what beautiful creatures they are!”
Okay, so he knows what animal it is, I thought to myself. Perhaps I should educate him as to what impalas do. I turned to him again. “Impalas are the type of deer that jump, right?” I asked him, fully knowing the answer but hoping to educate him.
“Oh, yes!” he said again. “They are known as ‘flying deer’ at times. They can jump a height of over three metres and cover a distance of 10 metres in a single leap! There’s hardly a sight more beautiful in all of creation as a wild impala leaping across a plain.”
I was dumbfounded! This zookeeper knew his stuff. That confused me even further. With a confused look on my face I asked, “So, isn’t this cage a bit too small for them? Won’t they jump out of it without a second thought? How do you keep them in here?”
The zookeeper cracked a huge grin and said to me, “No, they won’t jump out of here. You see, impalas won’t jump if they can’t see where they will land.”
Are we often like these impalas? We have the God-given ability to go great distances and accomplish wonderful things, yet do we often avoid taking the leap because we can’t always see what lies ahead?
May God help you this week to take many leaps into the unknown, knowing that even though we cannot see the future, it is worth the leap of faith to get there.
(Originally Published in “Heart Talk” February 2014; Excerpt of upcoming book)