A radiant red cardinal has been hanging out in our backyard for several weeks now. I’ve seen him; he’s fat and beautiful—sometimes he is perched atop our Bradford Pear tree. Other days he’s hopping along our fence, one picket at a time. One morning we almost achieved eye contact when he landed on our deck while I was looking out the patio door.
Most days, however, I don’t see him. He lets me know he’s hanging around though, with the rhythmic tune he’s singing that I hear from most rooms of our home. I often hear him from the bathroom when I’m getting ready in the morning. And he’s still usually hanging around through late afternoon, serenading me while preparing dinner in the kitchen.
I would have missed the joys of these moments had I still been working. Oh how many other moments I’ve missed!
I can’t help but think about my Dad in these moments. Several years ago when I was going through a difficult time in my life, I was at my parents’ home, having a morning cup of coffee with my Dad. A winter storm had just rolled through, and their backyard was beautifully covered with a white blanket of snow. Dad, knowing I was in an emotional black hole, asked me to look out the window and to describe the scenery. He asked something like, “Do you see pure white snow, the red cardinal singing, the unique formation of icicles hanging? Or is all you see the bitter cold, dreary sky, and lifeless tress?” At the time I probably rolled my eyes and smugly responded to his question, but his point stung, and I will always remember that moment. I was not seeing the joy of the Lord and experiencing the beauty of His earth and abundant life right in front of me.
So as I work through this transition in my life, I wonder if Dad is reaching out to me? Maybe he wants me to think about those questions he asked several years ago. Am I missing something—am I not seeing God’s treasures right in front of me? Or maybe I am, and he’s simply affirming my choices. Maybe it all has something to do with my writer’s block. I don’t know, but I certainly have sent a message in a bottle to my Dad, asking him for SOS, to walk beside me and help me along my journey!
In the meantime, if you live nearby and want to see and hear this beautiful cardinal, the coffee’s on (a dark bold blend, of course!), and I’m up for some bird watching and a good chat!