Sunday, October 16, 2011
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
I am amazed and grateful at how gifts of comfort come at just the right time. While this post may come across as long and convoluted, I hope you’ll hang on for the ride.
First of all, I feel as if the poem I posted on Friday was divinely inspired. While my friend’s son and Jack hadn’t played together since preschool, and she and I had only seen each other a handful of times in recent years, she chose a bird as her primary image to beautifully convey Jack in the poem. It could not have been a more perfect gift to us. We treasure it.
I had already written the “Rare Bird” post but was unable to publish it Thursday night because the electricity went out, shutting down my computer. As you know, Jack died on a Thursday evening during a terrible storm, and the lack of electricity was a big factor in his death.
So here I was on another shitty Thursday, shortly after 6 pm (the exact time Jack disappeared), alone in my dark house, a crazy storm raging outside my window. I asked God, “Seriously????” but was filled with a sense of calm, knowing that many, many people were praying for me at that instant. Instead of replaying the horror of that night in my mind, as would be my nature, I was able to sit calmly for hours until Tom and Margaret got home. One of the reasons I could be so calm was a little bird.
As had happened in another part of the house one week before, I heard a bird singing, so loudly and beautifully that it seemed to be inside the house. The first time it happened, I was in the family room. It was sunny and calm outside, so I didn’t think much of it except, to note, “That is one LOUD bird.”
But how a bird could sing during such a storm was beyond me. I just cherished it as I sat on the living room couch in the dark, a little smile on my face, knowing that when the electricity came on I already had a post ready to share with you about my boy entitled, “Rare Bird.” I loved that.
What could have been a horrible night was the opposite, because of many prayers and the visit of a little songbird. Margaret and Tim eventually came home and the three of us tucked ourselves into our queen-sized bed, the electricity still out. We were able to laugh and talk before falling asleep, which was far different from the moaning sobs that stormy night 5 weeks ago.
The next morning I told them about the bird and as I did, the loud singing began again. We looked around and found a cute brown songbird sitting contentedly in a flowerpot on our screened porch. He must have gotten trapped inside and ridden out the storm there. We let him out, and I smiled again. Bird.
What I hadn’t told you yet was that a different friend, whom I have not seen in 20 years and who, therefore, had never met Jack, had been lifting us up via loving emails each day. Several of her emails over these past few weeks, in addition to prayers and hugs, mentioned sending a little blue jay my way. Well, umm, okay. Not sure what that meant. And I’ve never really liked blue jays, but I decided I’d take all the love I could get.
It wasn’t until she read Friday’s blog post, that this friend let me know what she meant in those previous emails. She had seen a particular bird often since the accident, and each time she saw it was filled with a sense that my Jack was MORE THAN OKAY. When she would look at the blue jay, the words, “Rare Bird” came to her, again and again, which she found odd, because blue jays are not rare. After reading the poem on Friday, and seeing the title, "Rare Bird," she immediately KNEW that the “rare bird” she had been thinking of was not a bird, but was Jack.
She was able to pass along to me many comforting assurances about Jack, and because of the beautiful poem, and the bird that had sung to me Thursday night, I was able to hear her and be comforted. Wow.
Well, there’s more:
So yesterday, while we were getting ready to go to go to a school picnic, something we dreaded because Jack wouldn’t be there with his friends, my cell phone started playing music. I say cell phone, because even though it’s an iPhone, I am not a music-girl, and I didn’t even know it had music on it. Turns out, Tim loaded some songs when I first got the phone, but I had no idea.
The song playing, “The Solace of You,” was one of our favorites when were dating many years ago in our Mix-tape days. Tim and I were able to smile, hug, take solace, get in the car, and do something hard.
The music would not have touched me if all of these other things hadn’t happened to help me be open to the idea of COMFORT coming to us through varied ways. I would have just thought-- “Wow, my cell phone is jacked up!”
So, I realize I’ve been being eased into accepting this comfort, from the Bible verse showing up on my phone that first terrible night, friends telling me they sensed Jack was reunited with my mother in heaven, and the prescient Bible verse Margaret found last summer. It goes on and on.
Just as God has used numbness and shock to NOT let me feel the weight of this grief all at once, he seems to be giving comfort in just the right doses, lots and lots of doses, to bring me solace.
So later last night, when I heard music playing on my phone inside my purse, I wasn’t all that surprised. It was another song from our dating years. When I asked Tim what it was called, he said:
“’Song Bird’ by Fleetwood Mac.”
Of course it was.
Thanks, God! Thanks, Jack!