What the Birds Know

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Isaiah 40:31 ESV -But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

“The reason birds can fly and we can’t is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.”
― J.M. Barrie, The Little White Bird

“I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.” Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)

“Show her the birds!” He exclaims in a midnight dream in vivid technicolor. He and I are standing under pterodactyl-size white birds gliding, mind you, not flapping. I am uncertain of the species. Our necks are craned upward to view this simple yet poignant sight of soaring creatures, wings fully outstretched, perhaps a span of ten feet. I can hear the soft whisper of the glide. They simply, yet majestically, soar. He is smiling from ear to ear, delighted to show me these birds. David has recently passed on at the young age of 40. I presume David is asking
God to put on this show for me, to prove the beauty of Heaven, to ease my mind and bring me some piecemeal of peace, peace which I honestly do not remotely have at that moment in waking life. The birds… they are pristine and beautiful and I am in sincere awe at their glorious sight. I am in particular amazement that these birds need not flap their wings, relaying a message that in Heaven all is effortless, that perhaps there is no wind to strain against, to move against. All is calm, all is right. Winds are of the earth, sickness is of the earth. In Heaven, people are happy about showing others soaring birds. Upon waking and contemplating the dream, I try to reflect on all the Scriptures I was raised on and to bring to mind any regarding birds. My mind immediately directs to “not even a sparrow falls without God knowing.” I recall the dove sent from the ark. I know that birds are prominent within Scripture. In literature, Thoreau remarked that a sparrow landing upon him was a profound experience.

David and I never discussed anything pertaining to birds in our relationship. We weren’t bird-watchers or even remotely interested in the subject. We typically passed the bird exhibits at the zoos trying to reach the cages of something “more interesting” like giraffes and elephants.
I’ve thought of this often; what is with the birds and why are they becoming a seemingly telltale messenger? Is David able, as a remote figure from Heaven, choosing the feathers right now to send us hopeful signals that he is still very much alive and sees us? One can only hope. There is a very specific, linear trail of signals and communications he has left for our now 8-year old son and me. Jude says, “I think the feathers make us healthier.” The feathers appear at least a few times a month, in random locales. One time I was trying to make a big decision, opened the back door, and a feather was lying on the threshold right at my feet.

I met with a counselor a few weeks after his passing and the first thing I see on the wall is a pattern of white feathers wrapped around the wall behind her chair. Feathers. There they are again. It seems they are literally everywhere. I cannot escape them, not that I would want to.
The grief is so weighty and drowning and soul-soaking that I will take anything I can get. I am aware I could be inventing these signs in my mind, but it’s all too surreal not to be something. I decide it has to mean something and be of the working of some force beyond little old me. I need peace that he is at peace and if feathers are the means of divine communication, then I will gladly accept.

Little tiny downy feathers like the stuffing inside a pillow have fallen from above, landing before us, appeared resting on the floor in front of us, and randomly arrived from seemingly out of nowhere. I cannot count the times this has happened. When my son and I visited San Diego,
he was running down the pier and turned to me with a massive white feather, so proud to show me. “Look, Mom!” We kept the feather. Another late afternoon, Jude was playing in the backyard. A feather fell from a tree or the sky, and he said “Look a feather! That’s Daddy saying hi to me!” He was full of delight at this discovery. What to make of these feathers? Do I believe in signs? Do I really believe that is possible that somehow David could be sending us feathers? Could he be? One day we were driving to visit his parents home. We stopped at a traffic light in their hometown before some train tracks and about a million tiny white fluffs surrounded our car, like our own little private snow storm. I was taken aback and told Jude “maybe that’s Daddy.” I don’t know if the fluffs were from trees, from the weather, or from a higher place. We were covered over and it felt a lot like all-encompassing love. Jude and I were walking thru our living room one morning and he looked down and there were two tiny downy soft feathers, one for each of us. Jude was so excited; he put them in a special little box. Another morning, a little robin was playing chase with him in the front yard. A feather floated in the air as the robin flew
away. Jude said, “That black feather is from Daddy.”

What do they know? What do they see through their tiny eyes, orbs fronting bodies of feathers? We know they chirp, sing, fly, build nests and raise families. Can they possibly be modern-day messengers from those gone before us? Could they be used by angels to reach us
with hope to encourage us? Plausible not. Logical not. But what I have seen causes me to believe they have a purpose more than just flying. What I’ve borne witness to tells me they are guided to the suffering to deliver promises in things unseen. Why the bird? Their quantity and
ease of dropping feathers make them ideal for message-delivery. Their ability to cover long distances via air also make them the perfect candidates.

So we trust in the ways of the Creator of birds. We trust if the Most High wants us reassured with feathers, then that is more than able to happen. We have faith. And we cling tightly to our feathers that God has David in the shadow of His wings, and us too.

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