At first glance, it looked like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”. Instead of seagulls and crows filling the picture, it was a flock of turkey vultures.
Not my favorite winged animal.
They are present in Florida year-round, Seeing them reminds folks that something dead is around.
They’re carrion birds. Eating things already dead.
They’re great for eating roadkill, but there is an arrogance about them that gives them an entitled attitude. They’ll flock to the dead animal, often ten to fifteen of them, and block the street. When a car comes upon them, they raise their heads and stare, as if moving is the responsibility of the car and driver, not them.
I drove up to our headquarters and was stunned to see them covering the lawn and roof of the building. Easily a hundred of them–and I’m not speaking in hyperbole. I walked into the building and asked the obvious question of our security staff.
“Have you been killing animals on the grounds?”
The looks I received questioned my sanity. When I mentioned the turkey vultures on the grounds, knowing smiles lit up their faces.
“Nope. We’ve no idea why they’re here.”
That didn’t help. I’d done some research on these birds earlier, mainly because they’re unsettling to look at, with reddish pebbly-looking heads and what looks like fingers extending from their wings. The stuff nightmares are made of.
These birds generally congregate around landfills and construction sites where dead animals can often be found. They have an incredible sense of smell, and death has a very distinct odor.
With no apparent lifeless animals in the vicinity, I was left to wonder what would attract a creature interested only in death?
Most people aren’t drawn to death. Halloween is the one time where ghoulish and ghastly things seem fun and harmless, but death itself isn’t a topic we gravitate toward. Often, we’re quite nonchalant with death and the grief that accompanies it. Don’t dwell too long on sadness. Keep on moving.
Physical death will happen to all of us. Our bodies won’t last, no matter how much science tries to create a fountain-of-youth remedy to keep us from aging. We are all wearing out.
Our souls last forever. There is a part of us that is eternal, and we have the distinct privilege of determining where that eternity will be. With God or apart from Him.
Choosing God and His offer of eternal hope means choosing life.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4
Those who refuse the gift of forgiveness and life will have a different destination.
“They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from His glorious power.” 2 Thessalonians 1:9
Death isn’t something to be taken lightly. This life is limited and unfair because of the poor choices we all make.
We don’t have to search for death, as the turkey vultures do. It will find us.
The choice of what comes next is up to each of us.
What eternity will you choose?