And what chapter do you contribute…?
I have not written a post here in two and a half months. In that time frame, 3 valuable people in my universe died. Two of my connections from Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) died, both on Monday, April 27. Randy, our unit supervisor, was a mentor, coach, sensei, cheerleader, buster-of-chops-and-rejoicer-in-successes. John, a member of our peer group, was a United Methodist pastor on sabbatical, a warm hearted man of insight and humility. These losses came to all of us as a shock, and for me, a gut-punch as I was still reeling from Aunt Helen’s death, which I shared in my last post here.
One week later, on Monday, May 4, my beloved friend, #FirstEverWorkHusband and Person, Martin, died. I have written several times about him, his kidney failure, and our friendship in this blog. We had just texted shortly before he passed, and his death appears to have been a fast and massive heart attack. I can’t really write much about that right now; it is still pretty raw and I continue to process a great deal.
But the circumstances surrounding his passing left me inconsolable. When I could manage to sleep there were dreams (which are to be expected and I know there will be more to come); various types of crying, from leaky moments to wailing, sobbing jags. Finally as I stood in my yard, I spoke out loud, to Martin, to God, to The Universe, asking, pleading for…something. A sign. I said, “I need something to know that Martin is OK, so if he is…if you are…please, let the next feather that comes my way be either white or red. I will take that as my sign.” I didn’t specify that I needed to be the one to actually find the feather, but I didn’t give that much thought.
Flash forward a few weeks to a Thursday evening after work, when I reported to my church to record the service for the following Sunday, since we had not yet been cleared yet for in-person worship due to coronavirus. On my music stand was my music for the service, and an envelope with my name on it. I opened it to find these beautiful #featherblessings from my #ChoirBoss, Carroll, courtesy of his neighbors who had collected them on a walk with their dog.
As gorgeous as the spotted feathers are, it was the red one that brought me to tears. It was the sign I had begged for. After we had finished recording the service, I thanked Carroll for his gift, explaining to him, with choked-back tears and a breaking voice, what the red feather meant to me, and how it was the first semblance of comfort I had received since Martin died. I thanked him for unwittingly playing such an important role in someone else’s story…in my story.
We never know the importance of a seemingly small gesture. Something we may do or say without a second thought can make all the difference in another person’s life. When you get an impulse to reach out to someone, don’t ignore it. You never know when you might be writing a chapter in someone else’s story.