Monday, May 18, 2009

Achilles’ Heel & The Flapping Bird

The mythological Achilles had a weakness. Paris shot a poisonous arrow into his heel, the one place where, despite his strength he was vulnerable. Achilles isn’t the only one with an area of weakness. You have one. I have one (one, HA). In parenting my weakness is operating on little sleep. It’s being tired. With writing my weakness is the temptation to write just for me. I’ve learned to work at making sure my works are received the way I’m intending, that they are understood by the reader.

I think its imperative we know what our Achilles Heel is. With this knowledge we can do more to protect it. It would be tragic to be taken down because of one small area when the rest of us is thriving and filled with strength.

And now…The Flapping Bird

For the past two days a bird has been smacking its rust-colored belly into the bay window in our playroom. Again and again and again. Yesterday I knocked at the window as an attempt to shoo the bird away. This morning when I came downstairs, I noticed my husband had taped a picture of a Ford Hybrid to the window AND propped up a Build-A-Bear black bear (I’m guessing to scare it). I had a good laugh, but then realized that we can be like that bird.
~~We can get caught up in destructive or ineffective patterns of behavior. Someone once stated that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. ~~

Here’s where it all comes together—where Achilles meets the Bird: I believe our greatest weakness could be the lack of knowing what our weaknesses are (or where to turn to for help, but that’s another story for another time). We fly into windows trying to get somewhere. A metaphorical arrow shoots us down to render us incapable of carrying out our role with integrity and power. If we want to grow, we must change. We must be honest about where our “heel” is. We need to stop flapping into glass and instead learn to fly on.

Any tips to help us stop the bird?

Come read what I write about language over at this blog later today.

*photos from flickr


  1. In real life, I think we need a friend or relative that we really trust that can help point out our weaknesses. My mom seems do to this for me in a gentle and kind way. In our writing life, we need to have a crit. partner or editor who can help us see those weaknesses. Without those trusted people, sometimes we are just too subjective to see our glaring issues. And then sometimes too prideful to acknowledge them, even when we do see them!

  2. Oh, this goes hand in hand with my post today. Isn't it fun when it works out like that? I wrote about introspection and intuition. If we never learn to listen to our inner can we hear what God and the universe are telling us??? Good thoughts! (and hurray for your hubby for saving that poor bird from itself!!!)

  3. It's very easy to get obsessed and miss the big picture. Ooo...your music makes me feel like I'm in Cancun! Nice! Okay, back to my comment, I have to remind myself I don't know everything. And I make sure there are plenty of distractions around to keep my mind off writing constantly (like cookbooks, magazines, chocolate...).

  4. Very beautiful comparison! I agree--one of our greatest weaknesses can be not seeing those weaknesses in the first place. So our greatest strength would be to be humble enough to accept that we're not perfect, and open enough to listen to those that are truly trying to help us fly. :D

  5. Wendy, this is so true. Weaknesses in ourselves are often so difficult to spot. Why is it that they're so easy to spot in others, though? It's that whole take the plank out of your own eye first thing.

    Family and friends help, and I'm so thankful for them.

  6. Wendy:

    Oh, I feel so sorry for this poor bird, but that is not helping him, is it?

    Can we pray he'd find his way? Hang some peanut butter covered pine cones or oranges on a tree nearby to tempt him to perch there, instead of going where he doesn't belong?

    Loving friends don't just feel sorry for you flapping around; they gently guide you to the 'tree' you belong in. If you let them!

    Thanks for this amazing post!

  7. I love your writing and your blog is so pretty.

  8. Jody, maybe I should get my husband to hang the picture of the Ford Hybrid when I'm due for a change. :D

    Tess, he gave a good go at it, but the bird is still whacking away as I write.

    Jill, was it Bob? Ahhhh, chocolate!

    Danyelle, I liked how you wrote that there are others truly trying to help us fly. At times I feel my husband is my wings.

    Eileen, I've found it easier to find weaknesses in others and often when I notice them God is quick to say, "Hey, look at that" as he smacks me lovingly on the head.

    Jeanette, THANK YOU for the advice. I'll try it. Hope it works because about once per every five seconds I am hearing the bang.

    Lorna, those were kind things to write!

    I am grateful for your thoughts, ladies!

    ~ Wendy

  9. I forgot to tell you that my girls keep yelling at the window, "Bad dog, Bird!"
    Cracking me up! Jeanette, really hoping your tip helps. I'll keep you updated.

  10. Oh my goodness - that is SO true! When the flapping bird meets Achiles. Okay - I loved that analogy. I feel for that flapping bird! Sometimes God needs to put a big scary build-a-bear in my face to let me know, "Hey, this ain't workin'!" Excellent post, Wendy!

    My achiles heel...impatience. Having to wait for things. I'm a very impatient person.


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