I am not usually a bird person – I love animals but birds seem messy and cold and aloof and I’ve never paid special attention – until recently. We have a family of cardinals living in our yard. Someone once told me that the cardinal is a symbol of the Holy Spirit and that has stuck with me. Every time I see a cardinal I find myself whispering a prayer to the Holy Spirit. And I’m glad for the reminder.
Saturday, I was in the yard with the dogs when something went whinging by my ear and hurtled into the grass. I turned to see a small fluffy cardinal, unsteady on his wings, shooting glances around the yard wondering where he was. And before I knew it, both a male and female full-grown cardinal had landed, one on either side of this little explorer, heads cocked, chirping words of encouragement. I watched him watch them, gather himself and take off again. The female flew a little behind him while the male took up his post on a tree branch watching and giving instruction. It was so beautiful and mysterious to watch – as though I were being let in behind nature’s curtain, and I almost felt if I listened hard enough I would understand the chirps. And isn’t that what the Holy Spirit is? One who comes along and helps. Flying alongside as we careen through life, offering encouragement and instruction. And if we listen hard enough, we will always understand His words.