How to hope after the unthinkable happens



I saw her as I strolled on the back-forty of my brothers yard a couple of weeks ago in the early morning light. A flash of orange, she (or he) landed first on the fence, then fluttered down to hop among the grass, probably looking for breakfast among the dew. A robin sighting is always hope for me. I snapped her several different times before Tyler managed to scare her away. I couldn’t blame him, his enthusiasm was infectious as he ran to and fro, nose to the ground, seeming to thank me with a glance and wag of his tail every now and then.

Sometimes we need to cling to signs of hope however small when news comes to rock our world. I believe God created birds with a special role, that of singing out hope even when ours has run dry.

I draw back a memory of a time when my world was painted black. The morning after the call came that pulled the curtain down on life as we all knew it, my Mom looked out to see a robin on the grass. He was her little thread of hope and she clung to it. She also remembers thinking that she couldn’t believe the birds were still singing. The audacity of it all. How could they?

The other day as I was praying in the car, a dove came to sit on the lip of my sunroof. He perched there looking at me for a moment, I think we both surprised one another…..then he flew off. I could tell you many more stories than this. Of other times God has sent birds.

Yesterday I got a call that something unthinkable had happened to a family member. From then on my day kind of went on pause mode. I hadn’t seen them in years but we all grew up together as kids. It’s a bond forged by memories and stories and for many years our lives intertwined and we were close. My heart breaks for them, but they’ve always been a strong family. Even now, their house is filled and they are surrounded on all sides with love. For that I am grateful.

There is nothing I could tell them right now that could take away the awful sorrow, and I wouldn’t even pretend to try. If I could I would hold them close and share their tears. I called and left a message on their phone and for the longest time the beep didn’t come to leave a message, so I started talking anyway.

I don’t even remember what I said, I just wanted them to know that they were in my heart. Later, I got a text message from him thanking me for thinking of them. Something he said in his message makes me wonder how it’s possible for someone to not know they are loved despite all the evidence surrounding them? How can we be assured that they know it, and that they love themselves enough to accept it?

And today, when I got up, the doves were cooing, and the birds were singing again, just as if they didn’t know what was going on. They can’t help it, they know the way out of sorrow is to keep singing no matter what, it’s what God created them to do. They know that there is something still worth singing about even if we don’t.

In my heart is a prayer that they will get through this even stronger and that once again hope will be theirs; that they will find a way out of the sorrow with the love they have for one another.



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