What did you see today?
Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? I see a red bird looking back at me.
Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle, from Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See.
What do you see?
I saw loads of reasons for self pity this Manic Monday. I felt heavier and heavier as the day went on.
I know some of you are there...maybe you, too, are worried about the what nexts of life...how will you pay for-who will come-what will happen if-why don't they call-who cares-why didn't I...those prickly worry scarves we knit that we wrap around ourselves hoping for protection and comfort until we can't bear the weight of them one more second. Tonight, I was there.
Quite honestly, I think I'm weary. I have had a year that began with non-stop travel, to non-stop change, to chirpy "I'm fine! Great! Blessed beyond measure!" regardless of the question.
My friend Lori Friddle told me a great acronym for the word fine. But it begins with a word I shouldn't use, even in such understanding company, unless I'm the vice president. So let's just agree that "Fine! Thanks for asking!!" Is a euphemism for, I need a nap; I need wine or, I need to be rescued.
Tonight, I was sitting on the patio indulging in a glass of wine, even though I know alcohol contributes more to one's sense of melancholy than to any beneficial effect we might try to assign in attempts at justification. I was studying the sky and repeating my favorite mantra, "I can do this, I can do this, I can do this..." when a streak of red zipped across my peripheral vision.
Some of you who read my blog post about moving back to Kansas may already be guessing what it was. And you're right.
My first backyard cardinal sighting since we moved in. Well, the first male cardinal, I had seen a female a few evenings ago, but this was the first bright red and (in this case) very bold, cardinal I'd seen.
He flew to the fence where he cocked his head and seemed to stare straight through me. It reminded me of the Robert Louis Stevenson poem my mother used to recite to coax me out of bed in the morning.
"A birdie with a yellow bill
Hopped upon my window sill,
Cocked his shining eye and said:
"Ain't you 'shamed, you sleepy-head!"
I'm pretty sure this cardinal was saying, "Ain't you shamed?" "Really!?" and, "As if!"
Really...I was sitting in a lounge chair. By a pool. Outside my beautiful home. Yes, my bird, I get it. And I am a little shamed.
As if...I haven't learned again, and again, and again, that much worse...and much better...than this all falls into This Too Shall Pass. It does. It will. And do you realize that cardinals, when they're staring fiercely at you, can look a little intimidating? I'm just sayin'...
But mostly, that Cardinal conveyed to me the reminder that I'm remembered. I'm looked after--my going out, my coming in. God is bigger than the boogie man, as the Veggie Tales sing. And bigger than my fear. And it just took a fierce little red bird to remind me.
When we left Arizona, my friend Ann gave me a talisman for our journey. She is a finder of Just The Right Things. This one is inscribed on the back simply with,
We love you, Mimi.
Mary Charlotte and I hung it from our rear view mirror for our drive from Arizona to Kansas.
The cardinal (on a pussy willow...my Mother's favorite tree) that hung from my rear view mirror helped us move forward. It reminded me of all the goodness behind me, within me and ahead of me.
And that's what my cardinal encounter did today.
So what do you see? What is the lesson life wants you to remember? What hurt or worry does your heart need to release to allow you to grow on? You tell me. Or send a little bird to tell me, the message seems to get through loud and clear.