My spiritual advisor has got me journaling, which is basically a process in which you ask a question and then freeform write out answers. You write without judgment and in my case, without stopping, and when you’re done, you look back over what you’ve written and some of it may be from God Himself, using your hand to break through your mind. Some of it may also be your own subconscious or your imagination or your ego, and it can be messy but there are some good freaky nuggets in there. It’s been pretty fruitful for me.
Recently, when I told God that it felt like I was emerging from a dark time of life into a new Spring, I asked how I would know I was on the right path. I felt my hand writing…
Look for the Cardinal
And I shook my head because my big nature spiritual sign is definitely a dragonfly. Everyone knows this. Cardinals are great, and a lot of people see them as signs from their Heavenly people, but they’ve never been that for me. Anyway, it was a weird little nugget, so I decided to be on the lookout for cardinals. Here’s where I’ve found them so far.
At church on a tissue box
I have been so, so sick for about two months, battling sinus infections and bronchitis and it has been relentless. Through all the goo, I’ve taught music classes and sung at church, even though it’s been pretty gross and the singing, decidedly sub-par. One day, I knew I was going to need a dedicated tissue box on the altar and found this one in our church’s coffee area. It was as if God was not only telling me that singing at church is a ‘right road’ activity and place for me, but that healing would eventually come. Someday I would sing like a bird again!
On the sign of a dorm at my son’s college
We had Accepted Students Day where my son once attended Summer camp and where he will attend college in the Fall. It was an absolutely perfect day, full of signs that my boy has been led to this place in this time in his life. I was profoundly grateful. But God, always lavish with grace, drew my attention to this dorm which is usually referred to simply as ‘O’Hara’. I had seen this dorm many times before…my son lived here for two summers, but I had neglected to note the honorific. Noticing it made me mindful that this school is not only a ‘right road’ place for Brian, which it totally is, but also for our family, and for me.
From two women giving talks at my retreat house
As I was listening to women describing their retreat experiences, two of them spoke of seeing cardinals during their weekend, and it made me pay attention. This particular retreat house has been a big part of my faith life, and when they were speaking, I felt like it would also be a big part of my future. It felt very ‘right road’ in a way I don’t want to interpret or guess at just yet.
As I continue to look for cardinals, I am mindful of the definition of the word itself. It means ‘first’, and my big takeaway from journaling lately is how I must and will prioritize my life for this new Springtime. God has taken me by the hand, and I have to remember to put Him first, even as I’m surrounded by more and more light and may not hold on as tightly as I am now. If I keep Him close, the rest will fall into place, I know that for sure.
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