Have you ever seen a worried turkey? According to Joe Hutto, you never will. And Joe should know. For over a year, the naturalist and wildlife artist raised sixteen orphaned wild turkeys as their adopted “mother.”* From the time they pecked their downy heads out of the shell to the day they ventured off on their own as fully-grown adult birds, Hutto spent every waking moment with these chicks in the Florida flatlands.
Observing his little brood, the naturalist was struck by how content the turkeys were. Days were filled with the thrill of the hunt for grasshoppers in the tall grasses, the excitement of exploring the swamps and trees of their surroundings, and the cheerful chatter with one another in chirps, squawks and trills. Even predatory snakes didn’t cause alarm. The turkeys simply showed the serpent who was boss, pecking at him tauntingly, then playfully jumping out of the way when he attempted to strike.
“As humans we have this peculiar predisposition to be always thinking ahead, and living a little bit in the future,” Hutto reflected. But these birds didn’t appear to be anxious about where their next meal would come from, or distressed if they got caught in an unexpected rain-shower. Every challenge was a welcome adventure, and every discovery a source of pure joy.
For the wild turkeys, Joe Hutto says, “the world is not better a half a mile through the woods. It’s not better an hour from now. It’s not better tomorrow. The wild turkeys reminded me to be present.”
I don’t know about you, but I could learn a few things from those turkeys. How much time and energy do I waste worrying about things I have no control over? I know my Heavenly Father is a good and dependable provider. My experience shows me that He always gives me what I need. Yet I repeatedly am consumed by anxious thoughts about my future.
Don’t Worry About Tomorrow…
Maybe Jesus was thinking about wild turkeys when He reminded us not to be anxious about tomorrow. He says, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” (Matthew 6:25-27, NLT).
What is keeping you from fully enjoying this day that God has given you? Are worries about the future stealing your joy of the present? You can trust Him to care for your daily needs. Relax and follow the example of the turkeys – enjoy THIS day that He has given you!
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34, NLT
*Hutto, Joe. Illumination in the Flatlands. The Lyons Press: Guilford, Connecticut, 1995.
*My Life As a Turkey, © 2011 THIRTEEN and Passion Pictures (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/my-life-as-a-turkey/introduction/7268/)