Signs of Hope


Three years ago my nephew and I solemnly stood in my mother-in-law’s kitchen just before departing for her funeral service. Looking out the window, we saw a bald eagle majestically flying across the sky in broad circles. As we called the rest of the family, the eagle tipped its grand wings towards us before flying off in the horizon. This hard-to-miss sign seemed to give a spiritual high-five to a incredible woman and gave us an unforgettable sense of hope.

Last weekend we had a memorial service to honor my father’s wonderful life. We celebrated him with poetry and pictures, with songs and scripture, but it could never be enough. There was no eagle. If anyone deserved a glorious sign that all was well in the universe, it was my dad. I searched the sky, desperate to see a miracle, but there was only vast emptiness. And sadness, sadness that filled my sky until there was no sun, no hope.

There is a time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn, a time to dance. I didn’t realize in grief you don’t move through those seasons smoothly or permanently. You weave in and out of them a hundred times a day like an emotional shadow boxer. Rationally, I know my father lived a long and happy life, and I’m grateful for the time I had with him. I have complete faith that his beautiful soul will live eternally. But there are times throughout the day when my heart hurts so fiercely that I clutch it to keep breathing.

I remind God that I’m a sucker for His signs. I’ve heard the stories~ He sends butterflies, cardinals, foxes, and deer to comfort loved ones. Please God, could I have some sign of your divine providence?

Just days before my dad died, a fat robin began building a nest on the balcony outside our bedroom. In all my sadness, I barely noticed, but my husband documented the tiny miracle with photos. On the day my father died, four bright blue eggs appeared in the nest. By the day of his funeral, the featherless babies had been born. This week I woke to chirping birds, anxious to eat, and grow, and fly.

How foolish I am! I was praying for a magnificent sign, when just a few feet from where I rest my head was full evidence of God’s faithful and miraculous plans. Such signs don’t make our pain go away, but they soothe our sad souls and give us hope without asking for a thing in return.

“Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul. And sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all. And sweetest in the gale is heard, and sore must be the storm. That could abash the little bird that kept so many warm. I’ve heard it in the chillest land and on the strangest sea, yet never in extremity, it asked a crumb of me.”  ~Emily Dickinson

Think On These Things~ Alicia






One comment

  1. Lynda L Fry · · Reply

    Sometimes we fail to notice the lovely things of hope that are right under our noses, but not you! You are the most
    observant, hopeful, and spiritual person that I have ever known…with the exception of your dad! He, too, would have seen the hopefulness of the lovely bird nest and its significance! Love you with all of my heart.


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