Grace can appear in the most unexpected yet welcome ways. A glance out a family room window and the sight of a familiar friend flying in to stop by, one that whispers..’Hi Pam, I’m here.’ It brings both tears and joy, as if this familiar friend was looking for my Daddy, and then I realized maybe it was Daddy checking on me.
My father loved birds, he always did. When he moved in with us, after my mom died, we put his recliner beside the window in the Florida Room, so that he could look out and keep up with the farming activities, visitors and the birds.
We have a huge elm tree in the back yard, with a bird feeder high up on a limb. Many little red and yellow finches, cardinals, and occasionally some lovely blue birds became regular visitors. Close to the house, I hung a hummingbird feeder, in hopes we would draw some of those beautiful little birds. Within no time at all, we had so many different little finches visiting and soon after, a little green hummingbird showed up, and after a few days even more. Daddy was so excited and so was I, one of those special treats God blessed us with. He would sit and watch them, and always remind me when the feeders got low, so I could make sure to add more food.
In the winter when the tree was bare, he still would watch for those little birds that stayed around, enjoying them so much and making sure the bird feeders were full.
Daddy loved the outdoors and as a child growing up, he taught me to love it as well. We camped all over the United States, going on three and four week long trips. Those trips are some of my very happiest childhood memories. Daddy loved to sit in the yard under the elm tree and keep up with everyone. He would walk around the yard and down the driveway to get his exercise, taking pictures with his camera and checking on whatever Wirt was working on, or watching his great grandchildren play. Sitting under the elm tree, I can see him now.
The winter of 2016 -17, Daddy didn’t feel well, and he started to decline. He didn’t always want to go out to eat or to the store, he seldom went out in the yard to walk, but he still loved sitting in his chair by the window, watching the birds. Right before he died, we talked about alot of things, things he wanted me to know and just remembering my mom. I would help him get ready for bed and then we would talk. One night, after we had just brought him home from the hospital, He said, ‘Pam, I don’t think I’m getting better’, and I said, ‘oh daddy, I think you are just tired, you’ll feel better soon,’ trying to encourage him. He then said, ‘it’s okay, I’m not afraid of dying, I know where I’m going, I’ll be going home, but I’m just not ready to leave you yet, and my little birds.’
My sweet daddy went home, February 24, 2017, and he took a huge piece of my heart with him, but he also took his little birds. All that spring I waited for the little birds to come to the feeders, I filled the hummingbird feeders and the finch feeders, but nothing came. Summer came and went, no hummingbirds, and only a very few finches. The cardinals didn’t even show up. It made me so sad, because that was one thing to hold on to and bring about happy melodies.
This summer, I filled all of the feeders once again and hoped maybe, they would visit. One morning, I was sitting in daddy’s room, looking out of the window. I had put two of those little dancing flowers on the window, and as I looked out the window, there looking in, at those little flowers, was a little green hummingbird. I was so excited I just started crying. Since then we have seen three hummingbirds, all different colors and the cardinals are back as well.
I tend to struggle more with sad, during the summer, I guess because my schedule is slower and that was when I was able to spend so much more time with my parents, my boys and with Meg and her children. It is also all three of my children’s birthdays. I have more time to reflect as well, on God’s love and care, and those joys and events I was able to share in, with them. The hummingbirds to me have become one more reminder of God’s extra measure of grace, an extra, unexpected moment of joy and a reminder of how much he loves me.
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12