Last week I found myself sitting in a dental chair after weeks of discomfort, looking for solutions. I was nervous, even though my dentist and his team are kind. I have a sensitive mouth and a challenging history that creates anxiety in that place.
As I settled, practicing deep breaths, I saw the robin. He was beautiful and healthy and seemed to look right at me from the tree branch he was sitting on. I love the fact that in my dental office the chairs all face the windows and the building is surrounded by trees. Bird feeders attract the birds. It is an offering of creation that is a welcome distraction.
As I chatted with the dental assistant she said the robin had just showed up that day and together we wondered if it was a comforting sign that all would be well. There was a definite connection and I was so taken by his presence. It was very comforting.
I have long believed that our Creator God uses his creation to communicate with us. There are stories throughout scripture that verify this; the dove in the story of Noah, and the dove appearing at Jesus baptism are two examples.
When my first husband Andy was dying, God used the imagery of the eagle to comfort us over and over again, through verses, cards given, words spoken. When an eagle appeared just hours after he died I was overcome with a sense of God’s presence in the difficult journey I was on.
So too, the hummingbird became a lovely reminder of God’s faithfulness and love as I mourned the death of my mother. I wrote about it in my recent book Encouragement for the Grieving Heart, and it is a delightful story of comfort and cheer. When I see a hummingbird I am reminded of my beautiful mom!
i remember in a particular dark time in my life a beautiful bird appeared, I think it was a yellow finch of some kind. He perched on top of the barren tree in my front yard and sang. I stood and listened, mesmerized. It felt, at that moment, the song was sung for me, and lifted the cobwebs of melancholy out of my aching heart. What a gift!
And so, I gave thanks for the robin last week. When I was back, in the same dental chair two days later, the robin appeared again. Amazing! Again he seemed to see me, and there was that connection. And then off he flew.
I’ve thought about this all week, still dealing with complications in the midst of a root canal. All will be well didn’t always feel so well. I remembered many conversations with patients as I’ve offered spiritual care, where we grapple with the reality of pain. Pain must be acknowledged.
I’ve come to the conclusion, yet again, that we can be assured of God’s presence in the midst of our pain. That our Creator, in compassion, might even send messengers in the form of birds, creation, people, or words we read to bring us hope and comfort, in the midst of difficulties. I experienced impatience this week, I wanted to be free of the discomfort. It is another lesson, in perseverance, in waiting, in trusting.
I quoted Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) last week, who wrote the Serenity Prayer. Here again is the second half of that prayer which I have been praying this week:
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
I am grateful for beautiful messengers of hope and assurance that indeed all will be well in time.
The book, Encouragement for a Grieving Heart can be purchased on my website or through me personally, www.gracewulff.com