Months before he’d passed away my husband had marveled at how many doors were opening up for me. “You are flying! You are soaring!” he’d comment. Shortly after his death, my daughter Elizabeth had discovered a small stone in the hospital gift shop, certain that her father had led her to it. “Fly,” it said on one side, and “Spread Your Wings,” on the other. Ever since, I have carried it with me at all times, in a small zipper case I carry in my purse, one personalized with a photo of my (then) three grandchildren; Becca, Jacob, and Joe.
When a friend told me she’d picked up some magazines from the “free box” at our library on Monday and a paper with David’s name on it fell out of one, I was still too numb from Jacob’s death to think much about the coincidence. On the day that Jacob died, a paper with his grandfather’s name falls out of a magazine he’d checked out more than two years before! As an afterthought, I did think to ask the name of the magazine.
Wild Bird, she e-mailed back. I hadn’t yet decided what I would bring to the funeral home that afternoon to put in Jacob’s casket, but I knew then.
After his grandpa’s death, and no matter how recently or thouroughly I had vacuumed, Jacob would inevitably find a coin somewhere on the floor. He’d come to me with a closed fist and a twinkle in his eye, nearly wriggling in delight.
“What did you find?” I’d ask in mock disbelief, my eyes widening. He’d smile his broad smile and slowly open his hand to reveal a coin, or sometimes two, in his palm. Before the wake, I took a fifty cent piece from the box of coins his grandpa had kept in his drawer. Then I unzipped my little case and took out the special stone.
I’d wanted to ask this woman who picked up the magazines if she’d kept the paper so I could have it, but it seemed a silly question, and I was certain she’d probably thrown it away.
It arrived in my mailbox on Saturday. She’d mailed it to me without my having to ask.
I looked for God last Monday. It would have been wonderful if my daughter had seen angels at Jacob’s bedside, or her father standing in the doorway. A black butterfly with blue on its wings would have been a nice touch. A thunderstorm followed by a bright colorful rainbow. The kitchen light I kept on ever since David’s death could have gone off on Monday morning instead of flickering wildly on Jacob’s eighth birthday in June.
1 Kings 19:11-12
The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
God was in the whisper.
I have no real interest in birds of any sort, other than the fact that David loved them. Nor have I ever heard of a Wild Bird magazine. I would not have picked one up from a free box.
God chose a woman who knew me mostly as a Facebook friend, a woman who would think to message me about what she had discovered on the day of my grandson’s death. One who would make the effort to send the checkout slip to me so I could scrutinize it. David, who rarely used his own library card, yet did that day, did not check out one magazine the year before his own death. He checked out eight, seven of them Wild Bird. They were due one year and one day before he died.
Jacob, time to fly~ Fly, little bird, fly~