The Cardinal

Yesterday I was having a really rough day. Like one of those days where it felt like nothing has been going right, that my life’s been full of endless drama (and not the good kind) and it was hard to see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

When I’m really struggling, I find myself having a conversation with my dad in my head. He passed away in July 2016, and I miss him each and every day. He he was always a solid and calming presence in my life. So often when things got rough, a talk and a really good hug from my dad somehow always made it better.

Yesterday when I was feeling so very low, I found myself having a Dad talk. No, he doesn’t answer me when I talk to him, but I can imagine the things he would say. He would have had some gem of sage advice for sure. Then he would have reminded me how proud he was of me, and that I was strong and would get through it. He would have reminded me that he loved me and God loved me. And then he’d tell me to go get a good night’s sleep for goodness sake, because I was getting overtired and paranoid. (He was always right.) Then he’d go make me a fried egg sandwich, which is the best comfort food ever.

So not ten minutes after I had my Dad talk, First Born came down and said, “Hey Mom! There’s a really cool cardinal in the tree outside!” He’s not a big avian expert, but we rarely see cardinals around here and he knew it was an unusual occurrence. So we went and looked at it and I started to cry. He couldn’t figure out how a silly bird could make me burst into tears. So I explained,

He hugged me and we stood there and just watched the cardinal, who stayed with us for a long time, hopping from branch to branch.

Later that day as I was driving home, another cardinal flew past my car…as if to say, “I’m still here.”

I’m not normally one to put a lot of credence in “signs and symbols” — but yesterday this was exactly what I needed. It made me miss my dad even harder, but it was so comforting to imagine that he was really with me somehow, watching over me and my family.

So look for cardinals the next time you’re feeling bad. And then go make yourself a fried egg sandwich.

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