One morning this past spring, something funny happened to me …
OK, let me stop you from reading for just a moment. I feel this story needs a preface to get the full picture.
So, here’s the Preface:
When this happened, I thought it was simply a funny story, nothing more. You know… take a picture for show and tell … maybe share it with friends a couple of times… have a few laughs, or maybe not (it’s really not that funny) … then, be done with it… move on and wipe it from the ole memory bank (trust me, I need as much free storage space as I can get in there).
Looking back, I think of it as something much more than just a funny story. You know … dig around to find that picture I took…. maybe share it on my blog… have a few tears, or maybe not (it’s really not that sad) … then, keep it… reflect on it and save it in my heart forever (trust me, I need as much spiritual guidance as I can get in there).
If I told the story back in May, it would have a different tone to it. Of course, my heart was in a different place back then as well, causing the point-of-view to change.
So, here’s the Story:
One morning this past spring, something very spiritual happened to me…
As I walked into my house after a morning walk with my Goldendoodle, Teddy, I heard a frantic fluttering noise. The sound was coming from a huge picture window in our family room that overlooks a wooded preserve. I looked over in that direction, and didn’t see anything at first.
Suddenly, I saw a beautiful female cardinal flapping her wings alongside the picture window. She was bobbing up and down and looked desperate for me to help.
Poor girl – she was probably confused by her own reflection on the glass of the window. I’ve seen it a few times before where birds fly into windows when they see their reflections on glass. Unfortunately, I’ve seen some bird fatalities from these situations. So, I rushed towards the window to tap on the glass, hoping it would startle her and cause her to fly away back into the woods.
The cardinal started to settle down as I moved towards her. The rays from the morning sun created an ethereal glow, and a hazy light was shining all around this bird as she perched on the window sill. It was surreal. This angelic light almost formed an opaque film over my eyes and I felt like wiping it away from my eyes so that I could see clearly. After a few blinks, and a few steps closer, I realized this cardinal was inside my house.
For some strange reason, it took a few moments to register that this cardinal bird was actually calmly sitting on my window sill… inside my house.
For some strange reason, Teddy (who was only a 4 month old puppy at the time) remained calm.
For some strange reason, I remained calm.
For some strange reason, I no longer had a sense of urgency to save this bird.
For some strange reason, I knew this beautiful cardinal was OK.
For some strange reason, I knew that Teddy was OK.
For some strange reason, I knew that I was OK.
For some strange reason, all three of us were calm in a sudden moment of silence… looking at each other.
For some strange reason, I immediately knew what to do to get this cardinal bird safely back outside.
So, I went into the kitchen, got the barely used grilling gloves that my husband got as a Christmas gift, put them on, walked slowly back into the family room and up to the bird and stopped to pick her up. She didn’t move. Teddy didn’t move. I moved. I bent over to pick up this bird, and she miraculously stayed completely still while I effortlessly scooped her up into my gloved hands.
Although there was a true feeling of peace among all of us, I did have the worried thought that this poor bird may have broken a wing, and that was the only reason she was so calm. Still, I had great hope she was OK.
So, I walked out the door adjacent to the picture window and stepped onto the balcony that overlooks the wooded area. The cardinal was resting in my hands and Teddy was sitting at my side. Then, I gently swept my hands up in a swooshing motion, and the beautiful cardinal peacefully flew from my hands, gave a few chirps, and vanished into the woods.
I knew she was going to be OK. I knew I was going to be OK. I knew that Teddy really didn’t care.
I just told the story exactly how it happened. However, as I mentioned in the preface, I view it in a different light months after it happened. Here’s how it’s different:
I have always been a spiritual person. Not religious. Spiritual. In my core, I believe that we are all spirits that create energy, and that all our energy affects everyone else on this earth … and probably way beyond. In my heart, I want to believe that everything happens for a reason and that there are spiritual guides and angels looking over us and guiding us throughout our lives. I actually believe that some people have an amazing ability to feel the energy from these angels and spirits and, in different ways, communicate with them on some level. I believe I am one of those people.
There are countless times when I have thought of something, said something, done something, or even dreamed of something, later to find out that it was something somebody else was thinking about at the same time, or something that happened in the past… or, in the case of dreams, something that happens in the future. Nothing weird or voodoo like. Just things that others may consider as coincidental.
But, I am a spiritual person, and to me, life has much more meaning and purpose when there’s a comforting sense that a loved one, that has physically passed, still reaches out to you, and that you can hear them. That their spirit lives on in you and that you can continue knowing them and loving them after they are physically gone. Knowing that they are actually present, and not really gone. That you are not alone and that something average and mundane can actually turn out to be heavenly and extraordinary.
Which brings me Back to early this spring, when I was visited by this cardinal…
I was lost. Something happened and I stopped believing. I felt like my spirituality was equivalent to being crazy. I started listening to news and politics and heard about so much evil in the world. I started to feel that if there were angelic spirits, then, how could these horrible things happen? I stopped believing that I was somehow connected with loved ones that had passed away. I began telling myself that being spiritual was a sign of weakness and a way to ignore the hard facts and science behind our living world.
My world was so dark and lonely without having my spiritual connections. It actually depressed me. I did not like feeling that way. Not being spiritual was not being my true self.
So, although the story of the cardinal bird was based upon facts, I had left it at that … a story to tell with no special meaning. Thankfully, that perception recently changed when I started believing again.
When I say recently started believing again … I mean recent. It all starts with a story about a cardinal. Here it goes:
One afternoon this past weekend, something very spiritual happened to my son…
My husband, my in-laws, my 7 year old son, Teddy, and my in-laws’ dog were all taking a walk on a trail in the wooded area behind my house. Suddenly, my son stops, looks up, points upward and gleefully tells us he sees a “red robin” dancing up in the tree.
We looked up and scanned the trees for several minutes as my son kept laughing at this dancing bird. So, after a few more minutes, we gave up looking, and assumed he was exaggerating or telling a silly story for attention (trust me, these things can happen with an imaginative 7 year old boy).
Right as we started to walk away, my husband said, “Oh, I see it now. He’s way up high. It’s a cardinal”.
I started to think back on something I had learned since this past spring’s last cardinal incident… cardinals have significant spiritual meanings.
Anyways, I didn’t think too much of it, and walked along a little more, then, we turned back on our way home. As we approached the same area my son saw the cardinal, we heard this crazy cardinal chirping. I looked straight up, and it was the red cardinal. He seemed to want my attention. I saw him. There was an ethereal warm glow of sunlight illuminating him and the branch from which he was perched. It was surreal.
Later on that weekend, something else happened (unrelated to cardinals) that sparked my internal need for believing in spiritual signs. I then knew that my son and I had been visited by two special spirits, each one at different times, both in the form of a cardinal.
On that morning this past spring, I believe the female cardinal was simply a spirit telling me to trust myself and my own inner strength. To be calm and appreciate all that is beautiful and spiritual. I just didn’t know it at the time.
On that afternoon this past weekend, I believe the male cardinal was my Granny’s spirit. You see, she passed away since that story back in the spring … she passed away in July. I believe that cardinal was my Granny’s spirit dancing once again for my son, as she always did when she was physically here, and to tell me that she is still with me. She wanted me to notice her. Her spirit, in the form of that bright red Cardinal, was telling me to look for the signs, listen for the meaning and to feel her spirit. She, too, believed deeply in spirits and spiritual signs.
They were both spiritual signs, each telling me the same thing in different ways and at different times.