A birthday card brought these words to me and I kept the card for a long time. The card may be gone but the sentiment rests somewhere in my soul where the good things go.
But, wait! There’s more!
My sister had suffered a stroke which threatened her life. It was in deep winter as I drove down to Southern Illinois to be with my brother-in-law at this difficult time. I was feeling depressed –there is no other word for it. I was sitting in the cold one morning on the porch of my sister’s house praying morning prayer when a Song Sparrow flew into a tree right in front of me and sang…and sang.
Song Sparrows have a short but cheery song. Just what I needed. I can identify a Song Sparrow and its vocalizaions because I spent the better part of a year working on a research paper for my degree in Biology on that species.. My subject was the bird I was hearing on the back porch of my sister’s house in late December when I was ready to cave-in with anxiety. Song Sparrows don’t sing in Winter. This one did. I know the sparrow was sent to me to make things easier for me and to remind me to hope.
Early January, another year, bitter cold, a death in the family and I’m getting ready for Sunday Mass in the parking lot of a suburban parish. It’s a cloudless sky as the sun, so far away begins to rise. This time there is a cardinal, bright red, singing from the top of the tree right in front of me. Quite early for this species to be singing and setting up territory on that frigid morning. But, that was what he was doing. I took his presence as a harbinger of God’s presence.
Birds come unbidden and in surprising ways into my life and they bring me hope. Right now I’ve brought out a green bough and it waits confidently for another singing bird.