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  • Writer's pictureCoco

Coco Calling No.241 - When Things Are Not Always What They Seem To Be

I can vividly remember the day when my owner and his wife first brought me home with them. That was some 23 years ago, and they were living in a flat then. In fact, it was my owner’s old bachelor flat and he’d put up a huge mural on the lounge wall which depicted a tropical beach scene, complete with palm trees and coconuts! And for a newly arrived parrot, this looked irresistible, so the first thing I did was to fly up into one of the palm trees…...except it wasn’t a real tree, and instead I crashed into the wall and fell to the ground in a crumpled heap of feathers.

You may laugh, but my owner had his own experience of things not being quite what they seem. Back in 1994 when he was working as an editor for a publishing house, he travelled up to Edinburgh University in an attempt to sign up a promising new author. The lady in question was a former American nun, and she’d relocated to Edinburgh to become a professor in the Nursing Department. She’d already published one book with a rival publishing company, so my owner was keen to get her on board. The trip proved unsuccessful, and my owner returned to base feeling very disappointed. But shortly afterwards, it turned out that this lady had faked her American qualifications and academic experience and that she was not what she seemed. And as soon as her cover was blown, she fled back to America, leading to national newspaper headlines of “Nun on the Run!” My owner came to realise that he’d had a very lucky escape.

When we’re young, we can feel invincible and believe that we know everything. It’s only when we get a bit older that we come to realise that adversity and misfortune can sometimes be blessings in disguise. Especially if they knock us out of our normal orbit and put us on a course which leads us closer to Jesus. And for a great many humans, all was not what it seemed when He arrived here on Earth. Instead of being born in some great palace, the Son of God was born amongst farm animals in a humble stable. The Jews thought He would mount an uprising against their Roman occupiers, but instead He preached a message of peace and love. And when Jesus was crucified, everyone thought that was it; that He’d gone for ever. But instead, he came back to life.

Humans (and some parrots) have a tendency to believe that they are cleverer than they really are, and this rarely serves them well. Instead, we need to be open to other possibilities and humble enough to accept that we don’t always see the full picture. (Except, perhaps in my case, when I flew straight into it and discovered it was a wall!)

“Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what is carefully hidden.”

(Plato [c.428BC-C.347BC] Ancient Greek Philosopher: Quoted from his work “The Phaedrus”)

“I am not young enough to know everything.”

(J.M. Barrie: [1860-1937] Scottish novelist & playwright best known for creating ‘Peter Pan’)

“Look! Don’t be deceived by appearances, -men and things are not what they seem. All who are not on the rock are in the sea!”

(William Booth: [1829-1912] English Methodist preacher who with his wife, founded the Salvation Army)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3: 5)


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