Yesterday I was thinking about Mary a lot, missing her. I was very tired after a rough night's sleep and then being woken up at 4:30 by Andrew. When I am overly tired, I get more emotional. Many of you can relate, I'm sure. Anyway, several things happened that let me know Mary was near. I went up to have lunch with Andrew, bring him medicine and check on him. Ironically, one of his friend's grandmother and mother came to have lunch with Thomas, so they sat at a special table with us. Thomas' little sister was there. She is a doll with big blue eyes, tanned skin, blonde baby ringlets. Hannah was all over the place- very active; a real attention getter. I asked how old she was, thinking she was around three (I remember when she was born). They said she would be three this summer. Then something clicked and I remembered exactly when- July 31 (Mary's birthday).
"Hannah's birthday is July 31, isn't it?" I said happily.
The mother looked at me in total amazement. "How did you remember that?"
"I had a dear friend that shared the same birthday, and I remember Andrew was over at your house last summer on her birthday." I looked down sadly.
"Oh yeah, I remember..."
We finished lunch and I went home to rest. Several hours later, I was back at school in the car pool line waiting for my children. I got there early, it was such a beautiful, cool day. I rolled down my windows and heard a beautiful cardinal singing. I looked up, and he was there- in the tree right next to my car, easy to spot...and he stayed there and sang to me for several minutes, lifting my spirits and reminding me to say a prayer of thanks. Then, he flew off, across my car to the other side. I quickly scrambled over to the passenger seat and poked my head out the window (everyone must have thought I was crazy, but I don't care). He landed in a tree on that other side, again visible, and sang to me for a good fifteen minutes. A peaceful feeling of warm acceptance came over me as I watched this beautiful red cardinal sing. I was no longer sad.
When the kids came out to the car, I was ready to greet them, happy and refreshed. The cardinal had given me strength and peace. _________________________________________________________
I have a good friend who called me the other day, ecstatic because she had been outside working on a statue of the Blessed Mother Mary to give to her church, when a beautiful cardinal flew up and landed on the statue. The bird sat perched for a long while, and Debra said she knew he was trying to tell her something- just what she didn't know yet. Remember after Mary died, I was drawn to a statue of the Blessed Mother outside of my church? That is when the wind came over me, and something told me to go inside the church. I was drawn into the room where a priest was waiting for me, Father David (Mary and my favorite name). He gave me words of comfort that day, and I know (as does he) that Mary drew me to him. You can go back to my previous post, "A Spiritual Conversation" on August 8, 2008 to read the whole story.
Did you know that cardinal has several other meanings? A cardinal in the Catholic church, is a holy person ranked right under the pope? Webster's dictionary defines cardinal as "being of prime importance" and Native Americans hold the cardinal highly, as a symbol of deep faith and reverance? According to them these beautiful birds appear at very special and significant times.
All I know, is that cardinals appear to me and other people who loved Mary to help them through the pain, give them strength and feelings of comfort and peace. Do any of you have inspiring stories of cardinals or other birds? Please share!