This is a Salvation Story by my good friend, Al Andrews.  Al is husband, father, counselor, and writer.  These days he is most busy being an entrepreneur of generosity.  He wrote an amazing book entitled, The Boy, The Kite, and The Wind.  The story itself is profound and a good, good read.  The story behind the story is even better!  Al is using all of the profits from this book to give to projects of hope for those who are often hopeless about the most basic needs of life — food, water, and shelter.  You can read more about this salvation story that Al has written and continues to write in the lives of so many at

This is a story that reminds me of the all the jolting moments that confirm that we are not Home.  You know what I’m talking about — those moments that tug and tear at our hearts and make us long for something More.  Al’s story is about an encounter with a turkey that reminded him that he was not in the Garden of Delight.  Just this weekend I’ve had a few encounters with “turkeys” myself — a bounced check, a gossiping friend, a date on the calendar for a colonoscopy, and a weekend too quickly ending with a week ahead of work in a garden filled with thorns and thistles.  The truth is that I need a salvation story for all those moments.  And the good news is that there is such a story.  The New Testament tells us there will be turkeys: “Sometimes we can hardly wait to move — and so we cry out in frustration. . . . living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it”  (2 Corinthians 5). And Scripture tells us there will be a day when we are finally saved — when we’ll “exchange exile for homecoming.”   Al finds a respite from the screeching turkey by hoping in a day when turkeys will be tame and predators will be nonexistent.  This Salvation Story reminds me to hope for a day when checks won’t be necessary, friendships will be restored, and “colonoscopy” won’t even be in our vocabularies!  “We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies!  The Spirit of God whets out appetite by giving us a tase of what’s ahead.  He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less” (2 Corinthians 5).  I hope we will experience a salvation that puts heaven in our hearts while we wander outside of Eden.

I walked this morning down a wooded path.  The fresh green foliage whispered in the early breeze and sunlight sparkled through the thick spring canopy like daytime stars.  The deeper I descended into the woods, the more at rest my soul became.  I’d come there because I was tired, because I needed beauty, because I was thirsty for peace. A pileated woodpecker, a brown squirrel, and a young deer shyly made themselves known, an informal critter welcoming committee letting me know that they were glad I was there.  I felt their kind welcome.


Midway through my walk, I encountered a large wild turkey crossing the path. I was surprised to see it so fully exposed in an open space.  My turkey hunting friends have described futile hours of waiting to find the stealthy creatures.  (I wondered for a moment if they had been talking a big talk, when in actuality, one could just grab a turkey by its neck!)  Yet there she was, a few feet in front of me. And instead of fleeing into the bushes to evade me, she ran back and forth flapping her wings, screeching loudly and demanding my attention.


When I’ve seen birds do this before, it was a diversionary tactic, an attempt to get me (the supposed enemy) to look in her direction rather than in the direction her chicks or her nest.  Why else would a bird cause such a commotion when her brown and white plumage could easily provide adequate camouflage in the bushes? I looked around trying to find what she was diverting me from, I saw nothing.  Her noisy thrashing continued.


Suddenly, a large crow swooped down from some high perch to the side of the path.  He poked his head into the deep, tangled weeds with his probing beak and snatched out a soft, downy chick, jerking it up by its fragile neck and shaking it violently.  There was no noise and no struggle. And as quickly as he had entered, the crow flew away, with his innocent feast dangling limply in his beak.


The female turkey’s cries of panic grew louder for a while. Her pace quickened, taking short, anxious steps in every direction. She then scurried deeper into the woods as if finally grasping the loss she had observed.  Her cries grew more faint as she crossed into a distant ravine.


I stood there silently for a while, unable to shake off what I’d witnessed, a leisurely stroll interrupted by the deafening sounds of fear, death, and grief.  Once again, Eden’s beauty was overtaken by an invader, crashing violently through the feeble fence that surrounds its memory.  I felt angry over what I had witnessed, cursing the wretched crow.  I felt sorrow for the mother who’d lost her chick, and who now wandered through the forest alone.  I felt compassion for the tiny bird, destroyed in an instant.


I continued my walk, distracted by what I’d observed.  The serenity of the place still beckoned me, but I was braced now.  I find myself braced a lot these days. It seems that out of nowhere, something unwelcome often comes.  I’ve lived long enough to know that outside of Eden, moments of innocence have a short shelf life. While these times are real and good, I’ve come to see them as hints of what is to come, morsels of bread strewn out for me to follow, particles of hope drawing me to a certain future.


I long for the day (and I firmly believe that there WILL be a day) when the turkey on the path will not flinch at my coming, when there will be no need for the protective instinct to kick into gear, for there will be no enemies, no death.  Instead, I imagine her proudly leading her fluffy chick toward me to show it off in all of its innocent grandeur. I’ll stroke her feathered back with one hand, and I’ll admire her chick as I hold it in the other.


On that day, neither the turkey, nor I, nor any living thing will fear the menacing crows that swoop out of nowhere to kill, steal and destroy, for the loud black birds of death will not be welcome there.


That day will come.  Heaven will be our home.  And in its garden, we’ll all be safe.