A best friend resides on the opposite coast, in a house in the woods. We talk often, not often enough. Our conversations are lengthy, two, three hours. This last time I really think we set the record, over 3, possibly 4 hours.
I hold her heart in these calls. I see through her eyes, at her surroundings, her circumstances. Detail oriented, she is an articulate designer of everything, including her sentences. We talk about life, the hard stuff, the dreams we still have, and the hopes of tomorrow, the fears still lingering from our yesterdays. We even talk about the weather, history and nature. (They have REAL weather where she lives). We've cried and laughed and loved each other through separation. Distance DOES make a heart grow fonder.
Friends from high school and college, it's been a long journey together.
She lives in the country, co-habitating with the foraging creatures of the forest, her many feathered and furry friends.
She describes the colorful birds swooping in to her suet cakes and feeders in the dusky evening.
The robin, the blue jays, the woodpeckers, the yellow-bellied finches.
I’ve never seen a cardinal.
I picture this beautiful bright red bird coming into the yard to enjoy that which I prepared in a feeder, so I can catch a glimpse of him in what I offered up.
Squirrels enjoy birdseed too, stealing all they can and making a mess while they're at it. Let’s devise a plan to keep the clever thieves away.
The branches get a pruning back, should shorten their launch pads.
Barriers go up, obstacles they couldn’t possibly get around.
Let's slick things up so they can’t get a grip.
Yet these relentless rodents, these bottomless pit, pesky perseveres, continue to sneak in, fly up and around, flinging themselves at all we’ve worked so hard to prepare.
Yet, we come every evening for a glimpse, for the hope of a red cardinal.
We can persevere too.
And don’t we want more than just a glimpse? I want to know about the cardinal, its habits, its character, what I can expect, what I need to give to receive the joy and hope of relishing their presence in my life.
I find it’s not much of a sacrifice in comparison. I acknowledge their beautiful gift to me in daylight moments of life's crimson blessings as well as the fading moments of light spread across a strawberry sunset. I am humbled and in awe. I believe in their arrival more than I do the squirrel’s threat. The bread and the cup await the flight of a red winged Spirit and I light the candles of hope.
Gratitude. I swallow the bread and drink from the cup, promised a refill for tomorrow. I seek and see the flash of red in the dark forest.
And moments become worship.
Worship becomes a suet cake for my own soul.
Robbers will try and steal the joy, but I know of the cardinal’s faithfulness.
Give me more than a glimpse Lord, for I need to see all of You.
And a red petal falls from my sunflowers, feather-shaped, and a mocking bird nest chirps loud with new life. I pray for more than a glimpse, for the whole of the truth as I send prayers on wings of eagles and love in words of hope to the house in the woods on another coast.
Swoop in red cardinal, let us get a good look at you.
I love you and long for you my friend; a filled cup and endless seed of His continued and renewed strength, for the stealers of joy to begin an early hybernation; for you to capture the full view of all His Glory in your lives.
Jeremiah 29:13 "And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart."