Posted in Essay, General Interest, Spiritual Practice, Terri Stewart

Finding Sacred Space in the Story

Below is the beginning of a parable written by an unknown person. As an exercise of finding yourself and sacred space, please place yourself in the story from whatever perspective you feel speaks to you and finish the story! Are you a chicken? The eagle? The farmer? An unseen or unknown person? Let us know!

A long time ago in a remote valley, there lived a farmer. One day he got tired of the daily routine of running the farm and decided to climb the cliffs that brooded above the valley to see what lay beyond.

He climbed all day until he reached a ledge just below the top of the cliff; there, to his amazement was a nest, full of eggs.

Immediately he knew they were eagle’s eggs and, even though he knew it was profoundly un-ecological and almost certainly illegal, he carefully took one and stowed it in his pack; then seeing the sun was low in the sky, he realized it was too late in the day to make the top and slowly began to make his way down the cliff to his farm.

When he got home he put the egg in with the few chickens he kept in the yard. The mother hen was the proudest chicken you ever saw, sitting atop this magnificent egg; and the cockerel couldn’t have been prouder.

Sure enough, some weeks later, from the egg emerged a fine, healthy eglet. And as is in the gentle nature of chickens, they didn’t balk at the stranger in their midst and raised the majestic bird as one of their own.

So it was that the eagle grew up with its brother and sister chicks. It learned to do all the things chickens do: it clucked and cackled, scratching in the dirt for grits and worms, flapping its wings furiously,flying just a few feet in the air before crashing down to earth in a pile of dust and feathers.

It believed resolutely and absolutely it was a chicken.

Then, later in its life, the eagle, doing all the all the things chickens do – it clucked and cackled, scratching in the dirt for grits and worms, flapping its wings furiously,flying just a few feet in the air before crashing down to earth in a pile of dust and feathers – suddenly took flight and flew up into the nearest tree, high above his brother and sister chickens. And there he perched…

And now, you tell the rest of the story!

photo by Linda Tanner cc licensed (BY) flickr
photo by Linda Tanner
cc licensed (BY) flickr

(c) 2014, post, Terri Stewart

parable in its complete form found at

REV. TERRI STEWART is The Bardo Group’s Sunday chaplain, senior content editor, and site co-administrator. She comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction.

Her online presence is “Cloaked Monk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at ,, and


I am a monk disguised as a passionate prophet. My true loves are God, family, and the creative arts. And maybe just a little bit of politics too. (PS My photo is by Eric Lyons Photography).

10 thoughts on “Finding Sacred Space in the Story

  1. I’m looking from above, so much to tell my brothers and sisters, the distant horizons, the new views just around the corner. There are also new desires tho. Seeing a cornfield , I decide to fly down to it and collect some to feed my siblings, but as I get there I spy a field mouse swoop on it and devour it. I am changeling in ways I don’t understand yet. Flying back to my family with the corn, I am aware of how much stronger than them I am… At least although changed, cnanging, I will be able to protect them now


  2. I am the eagle and the mother hen. I am anxious and curious about who I am, becoming more and more aware of differences, filled with questions about how I came to be…and came to be here. At the same time, I am yearning to set myself free, to allow myself to be different and loved and to belong. I am aware that I must let go of my own attachment and agenda in order to allow this other spirit to soar. I am aware of my limitations as a mother, my longing to give what can only be experienced first hand, and there is some sadness there.


  3. I am the mother hen accepting, taking joy in care and nuturing. I am the eglet learning from the rest of the clan and reflecting them back to themselves. I am the adventurous and far-sighted grown eagle, sharing my new perspectives with those I love.

    Wonderful exercise, Terri. Happy Sunday and thank you.

    P.S.: Whoa! I just read the completed story at the other sight and – Yikes! – I can see the potential for that too, though in many many ways I have already risen above my chicken-scratching beginnings. 🙂


  4. Throughout I saw myself as the Eagle – in surroundings to which she must adapt but not where she was meant to be. The eagle sat upon her perch and surveyed the chickens who she perceived had given her so much. She didn’t want to leave, but also knew she didn’t belong. She knew in her heart that she was meant to soar way above the gravel and grit but she also felt guilt over leaving the chickens who had accepted her and loved her; even though they didn’t understand how she was different and what she was meant to be. She also had an urge deep within her soul that these very chickens that had been so a part of her existence were not of her. They were meant as… No she couldn’t face that urge, couldn’t acknowledge that part of her being as right and true. She couldn’t destroy those of her past, even if it was ordained for her survival. She found herself limited, soaring and circling overhead, protecting those below, who didn’t really know her, from other predators.


  5. … suddenly took flight and flew up into the nearest tree, high above my brother and sister chickens. And there I perched… for a long time. I watched shadows stretch and the sun disappear. Just before darkness took hold, the farmer ushered my family into the tight, safe warmth of the coop. My heart, and all that I knew went with them. And then I spread my wings wide and fell into the star filled sky.


  6. Watching over his brothers and sisters and dear dear mother. However, one day the eagle saw flock of other eagles flying high in the sky. They seemed to be having so much fun! They were playing. Yes he was not mistaken. They were actually playing with on another. Then he noticed something unbelievable!! ” I’ve got a beak like that and tail feathers like that!! That’s funny! ” he said to himself. I always thought I was the ugly duckling of our bunch. But those guys look just stunning. I wonder what would happen if I flew up and said ” hello!”. And so the eagle did just that. Well , at first the others were a bit annoyed that their game had been disturbed. Then THEY noticed something very strange. He reminded them of someone they knew.” Who are you and what are you doing on Our air space?” they asked. Well I’m Chooka and I just saw you and wanted to say hello. You all look like you are having so much fun and it pulls on my heart strings somehow. May I play for a while with you”. “Oh ok sure.” Said the little one. Well they played and swooped and spun and twirled till they were all played out. They few down to the river,selected their favourite rocks which were the most beautiful sculptures Chooka had ever seen and drank and fished till their tummy’s were about to burst! And hung around in the sun preening their feathers chatting. “I’d better go home now “,said Chooka. “Thanks for a great day!” So off he few and returned home to the tree. But he just could not stop thinking about the tribe of Eagles! How magnificent they are and how he is in fact just like them….. He longed to see them Ns be with them again. He felt a sense of true belonging. It was an absolute ” Goodness of Fit”. He had to see them again. So next day day he told mumma chook . naturally she gave her blessing sand wished him well. Off he went. When he arrived mother Eagle was crying but she embraced lChooka so firmly that his feathers were all ruffled.. All the others squawked loudly and there was a great commotion. Everyone was absolutely delighted to see him. He then learned the storey of the stollen egg. The end


  7. There was never any question about who I was. I was a chicken. So how can I be an eagle? But I know fully today from having taken flight that indeed I am an eagle. I know that as an eagle I shall never eat a chick or chicken for they raised me. I know that I am ever changing and that tomorrow I might be a snake or a rabbit. We are all one aren’t we?


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