I’m writing this for me and sharing with you. There are moments in our lives when we experience something small that feels big. I don’t want to forget how big it felt and why it felt that way. So, this is for me. But maybe it will mean something to you too.
A couple of months into this time at home, I was at a crossroads. The world around us was slowing down, but I had a professional decision to make, and I needed to make it quickly. I was tormented by this decision. I found myself taking walks, listening to songs, trying to picture what the right decision would be.
Sometimes, the right thing is the really hard thing. I knew what I had to do in my gut, but my heart was having such a deeply difficult time because this decision meant saying goodbye to a group of people who I have loved with every corner of my heart.
The day after I shared my decision to leave my school community, I took another walk. I found myself questioning whether it was right. Was my gut actually my gut feeling? Was it a stomach ache? Was it just fear? Could I trust myself? Since the governor’s stay at home order, I had been taking walks in my neighborhood every day and on these walks I was seeing cardinals. A striking amount of cardinals. So many cardinals in fact that I looked up what it might mean to be seeing so many of these beautiful, scarlet birds. I found many sites of questionable authority which explained that some believe cardinals are spirtual messengers. Perhaps even loved onces who have passed who have come to watch over us in difficult times. So, thinking about these cardinals being my dad or mother-in-law watching over us during this difficult time really brought me peace.
So, back to my walk. I’m on this walk, and I’m heavy hearted about the big decision I’ve made, and on this day, I’m not seeing any cardinals. Where were my spiritual messengers to bring me comfort? Was this a sign that I made the wrong decision?
And this is where things start to sound a bit…well, crazy. This is why I’ve said that I’m writing this for me and sharing it for you to see. Because I need to remember this moment I’m about to share and just maybe someone out there will connect with my story.
At this point during my walk, I’m feeling emotional and unsure, and I think to myself, “If I have made the right decision. I need a sign. A very obvious sign. If this was the right decision, I need a cardinal to fall from the sky in front of me.” I know that sounds a bit nutty, but it’s what I thought, and then things get weird. No more than 10 seconds later, a cardinal falls from the sky onto the sidewalk about 10 feet in front of me.
I couldn’t believe it.
So, I feel this wave of relief and gratitude. I’m smiling and just happy and at peace while I continue my walk. Then, I start to think a bit further about the cardinal and what it may represent, and I start to wonder if maybe it was my dad. And then I start to wonder if it would be greedy of me to ask the universe for a sign, so I would know if it was my dad.
Just then, I turn the corner down a cobblestone, tree-lined street, and here is another almost unbelievable part of the story. 1-2-3-4-5 cardinals are flying in a wide circle around me on this narrow street. I was in a cardinal tornado of magic. By this point, I’m overcome with emotion. It felt like my dad was with me, and this was his way of telling me.
As I turn the next corner and cross the bridge back to my house, I start laughing uncontrollably. I picture my dad saying, “How many birds do I have to send you?”
I left that walk feeling connected. Connected to my father who passed when I was young. Connected to the earth around me. But perhaps most importantly, connected to myself and to my gut. It was a very grounding experience.
Now, cardinals could mean nothing. They could just be really pretty, red birds, but I choose to believe differently.
And it’s what we believe that really matters at the end of the day. I hope we choose to believe in ourselves. In our gut feelings. I hope we choose to believe that the universe is conspiring in our favor. I hope we choose to believe in the profound impact that we can make on this world. A world that is in desperate need of people who are willing to actively change and evolve and ground themselves in the human experience.
I also hope we are brave enough to ask for what we need. Even when it sounds a little crazy.
I needed some birds.