Feathering Nests and Floating Hope

  “Hope is that thing with feathers

 That perches on the soul

That sings the tune without the words

And never stops at all.”    ~Emily Dickinson

For many years now, I have believed that when I find a feather, it is a reminder to me that little things are important, and that I am kept in the shadow of God’s wing.  I have found feathers in the most unusual and unexpected places, when I wasn’t really looking.  When my mother was dying, I went out to the car to drive back to sit with her.  When I got to the edge of the lawn, I had to step over the median.  When I looked down, I found a large black and green duck feather sticking straight up out of the grass. A wisp of a feather floated by and stuck on my windshield on another occasion when I sorely needed the reminder.

I had a little feather that was a wonder to me for years.  I don’t remember where I found it or exactly when, although I kept it in a little birthday reminder book that was given to me in 1987, the year we moved to Indonesia.  I put it there in the beginning because on that page there is a drawing of that same feather, right down to the size (tiny) and colors and markings (black and white).  I was amazed at that.  Usually the process is different…you find the object, then obtain or make its resemblance.

The other special thing about that feather was that it lived between the pages of the birthday calendar book where my oldest son’s name is written, January 13, his birthday.  And that it was still there, through 2 moves in Jakarta, an international shipping, and the busy household shuffling of my kitchen desk every day.  Feathers usually don’t stay.  They drift in and blow away.

But this little feather stayed between the pages and always caused me to smile when I came upon it.  It reminded me of joy in small things, of hope … of lines of poetry and scripture, and that gifts can come when you open your hand and heart, and sometimes, the door. I gave the feather to my son on his birthday last year, telling him I hoped it would serve as a reminder of the same things for him.  (This story was posted in the blog last September.)

I still find feathers.  And they are still reminders for me of joy and faith…and that I am under the shadow of His wing. A favorite author, Leigh McElroy, likes finding feathers too.  She reminds me that God may wink or whisper in the way He reminds me of His presence, and that He delights in delighting me with the littlest of things.  The opening scene in a movie loved by many tells a story of a feather found and kept. 

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