Tuesday, October 21, 2014
A short phrase in a song lyric that a friend sent to me years ago caught my imagination: just a feather will do.
In a world where other more ostentatious items fill our wish lists - this simple phrase got me to thinking of how “less can be more”. I need but the eyes to see and a change of direction in my heart to seek.
Feathers. Some are so light that they are but wisps. Some are heavier and help eagles take flight.
For those of us who embraced the film, Forrest Gump, we watched a feather wend its way down to Forrest’s feet. His awe in accepting it became a metaphor for his taking flight into the adventures that became the fabric of his life.
In my contemplations, I can get focused on the heavier wings that fill my life - wondering if I may ever take flight. Contemplation can be helpful but I don’t want to miss the moments when God has wisps of grace right before my eyes. He wants me to rest in such moments and find contentment in what he holds within them as they are his step-builders to my ordained future.
I want just a feather to do:
a teardrop that brings the fruits of restoration,
the rests that are part of a musical score and make
it complete because they are needed there,
a hug that comforts,
a friend who understands.
As feathers were filling my thoughts, I asked my cousin, Teri, if I could share about the feathers that God brought into her life and into our family’s lives through her sharing of them.
I will weave my comments amidst her story
Jan. 5th 2011, I received a call at work from John [her husband] who was very distraught and said there had been a bad accident and I must come to the hospital. I was at the Express Lane at work with customers and he said, “Come quick, it isn’t good.”
Aaron [ their 28 year old son ] had called me the night before and asked me if I could take Ashley [Aaron's wife] to work the next day. He needed the truck she usually drove to work. So, of course, I said, “Yes”, and he responded with the most emotion I had ever heard in his voice, “THANKS MAMA, I LOVE YOU!” Those would be the last words I ever heard from him.
[The family runs a tree service business in a rural area. Aaron was high up on a crane, all safety measures in place, preparing a tree to be felled, high enough to see the eagles swooping by in the freedom they have, as if owning the skies.]
What must go through a mother’s heart at such a time? What must have gone through Aaron’s young wife’s mind as Teri swooped her up with the urgency in the call and they took to the road. Surely, she and Aaron’s one-year old daughter, Abigail, filled some of her thoughts.
Feathers of grace fell into place without hesitation.
We cried and prayed the whole way to the hospital. We drove not knowing if Aaron was alive or dead. We held hands and prayed and prayed and prayed. We reached the road near where John was raised.
At that moment, and on that particular spot in the highway, a large eagle actually swooped over our windshield and flew over the bay and towards the horizon upward.
I knew within my mother’s heart that at that very moment, Aaron was being lifted to heaven on eagles wings. To me an eagle has always represented God! I knew that God was lifting Aaron Home. When we finally arrived at the hospital, we found that the moment the eagle had swooped our car was the exact minute that they had declared Aaron dead on arrival. I choose to declare him resurrected!
When I received the news later that day and sat in disbelief of the accident and all that it may have entailed, feathered thoughts were upon me -- a mantle of God’s presence.
In my mind’s eye I saw Aaron falling from his spot high above the road. As he fell, God swooped in. Cradling Aaron in his arms to soften the fall and holding him close, He whispered,
“It is okay, son. I’ve got you. I am taking you Home.”
It was months later that I found out that the place where Aaron came to rest was softened as I had seen. He lie as if in sleep, no evidence of what one would think the scene could be. His father and brother rushed to administer CPR as they awaited the paramedics.
Those moments of unbelief, pain, horror
co-existed with God’s hands of grace to help them.
Life became a blur for the week or two before Aaron’s life celebration. The day before the service, I felt led to speak for our family to those who gathered. I went up to the 100 year old homestead where Aaron and Ashley had been married. I wanted to hear the words from God that I was to share. It was 8p.m. and already dark. As I turned on the porch light at the house where I would write God’s message, there on the doorstep of the old farmhouse was a young eagle feather -- God’s signature to me that He was with us in all of this. Aaron was secure with Him. He had lived his ordained earthly days.
Teri came to know, as others of us have experienced, too, that God wants to gift us with assurances of what can bring us comfort in the deepest times of despair.
It will not be literal feathers for everyone, although young Abigail now knows that her Daddy may wing some feathers down from above, signs that he walks alongside her as she steps into the days and adventures of her life.
For some it could be the promise seen in the appearance of an unexpected rainbow or a timely word in a note or phone call.
I am often blessed hearing a song that brings tears of recognition that God understands the depths of what I am feeling, notes of grace for me.
Such signs will always be of personal encouragement as that is how God loves us. His Word is filled with exhortations of how He wants us to rest in the shelter of his wings.
There, He can give us the gift of himself and the assurance that He, who is mighty, can honor us with a feather of help pulled forth from his abundance.
Such a feather will do just fine.
Composer: Patrick Doyle
Lyrics: Beth Nielsen Chapman
Performed by Beth Nielsen Chapman
This mourning dove feather was a timely, and unexpected gift from my friend, Margie Scott - a perfect image to accompany this text.
Thank you, Margie!
* revision from an earlier posting