Cardinal Photo by By ibm4381 (via Creative Commons)
Sometimes, it is amazing to me the way that God can be present in my daily life in the smallest but most significant of ways. It doesn't always happen but sometimes it does and I wanted to share this little story.
Almost four years ago, Dh and I were trying for another child and it just wasn't happening. Pk had been right away and it had never occurred to us that this wouldn't be so easy the second time. We were both in our mid 30's and I was really starting to worry that we had left things too long. I can't tell you the pain in wondering whether you might not be able to have a child. It was so overwhelming. I was so discouraged and it was tainting most of my life.
One day, I took my class on a field trip. There was this boy in my class who happened to have the nicest mom. She was a kindred spirit - from the first time we talked, I really liked her and felt very comfortable with her. On the bus on the way back from the field trip, she asked about whether we were going to have another child. Sometimes, a question like that feels very intrusive but with her, there was something about the way that she asked that didn't offend me the way that it usually does. I answered something to the effect that we were trying and it wasn't happening and it was pretty frustrating. She was so kind to me. They had gone through exactly the same thing and she had found out she was pregnant with her second child and the ultrasound ordered by the fertility specialist they were going to see. She didn't make me any false promises that anything was certain but we did make me feel listened to and, more importantly, that I wasn't alone. I really treasured that conversation.
Her son moved on a while we always had a hug and a smile when we did encounter each other, we really moved out of each other's lives. Then, this year, she started working as a lunch supervisor at our school. We chat fairly regularly and give each other a smile. My class had done some cardinal paintings that really brighten our hallway and one day, she stopped by to tell me how much she loved them. Cardinals are my favourite birds and it turns out that they are hers, as well. She told me that she had heard a story about an old man who was at the end of his rope. He prayed to God for a sign, any sign, of God's presence because he just didn't think he had it in him to go on. That day, everywhere he went, he saw cardinals and in the most unexpected places. The old man decided that the birds were God's way to telling him that all would be o.k.
During my evening prayers a few days later, it just popped into my head that I wanted to get her something with a cardinal on it as a thank you for the chat a few years before. It's funny how that happens - when I pray in the evening for people in my life, so often people's names come to me that I should write to, send a card or an email to or to try to make plans with. Anyway, a few days later, I played around a bit on etsy (I love buying hand made!) and I found a lovely pendant. It wasn't anything expensive, just a little hand-painted tile with a cardinal on it. It took a while to get it and finally, one day, I put it in a card and left it in the office for her. Then, I forgot about it.
About three days later, she came to me at lunch and began to cry. She wanted to tell me that she was SURE that God had used me to show her a cardinal. He son, who is brilliant and well-rounded and "gifted" (according to the tests) has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and in her words, her "mama's heard was aching with not being able to make things better for him." She was really struggling and overwhelmed and then, out of nowhere, this totally unexpected cardinal.
I've been feeling a bit awestruck ever since. It's amazing to feel like I was able to make such a difference in someone's day.