Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

When cardinals are here, angels are near

40 Reflections: 40 days of raw recollections during the Lenten Season

No. 28

The other day my husband met a gentleman whose sole job is to ensure trucks are let in and out of a construction area safely and without harming pedestrians. A noble job and one that requires patience and a keen eye.

I could imagine this must be very hard, to be vigilant and always ready to usher kids or adults across a noisy construction area. More significantly, he guards this area without a screen staring back at him, just the sun shining and the world around him, observing his surroundings. While on his shift, he told my husband a story. As he was just closing the gate for what seemed to be the 38th time that morning, he saw a red streak go by and land near a home in a short distance. As if called to a service, the cardinals landed by an elderly woman who stopped in her tracks, bowed her head, hands folded in prayer.

He recognized this gesture and explained that spotting a cheerful cardinal means a lost family member is safe and happy. “When cardinals are here, angels are near.” He went on to note that the mere sighting of a cardinal is known to bring on emotional feelings. Some feel the vibrant red is a spiritual, and uplifting symbol that those we have lost will indeed live forever.

He told the story as rotely as if reciting the alphabet. Hearing this reminded me of a cardinal I saw in our backyard yesterday who caught my attention with a loud string of whistles and trills. His song made me think of my husband’s grandmother, Sissy who always had a story to share or a prank to pull. How lovely to know cardinals can give us hope that our loved ones who are gone are safe, happy, and watching over us.

Today when we are distracted by so much, it’s easy to push our memories and feelings aside – and forget to look up, find hope, and be grateful. I love that this gentleman who ensured everyone’s safety all day took a moment to observe the love and hope all around us and share his story.

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