“Not one sparrow is forgotten by God.” Luke 12:6 (NIV)
I was fully prepared to attend our daughter’s College graduation by myself. I was not prepared to attend alone.
Going by myself meant I would attend the ceremony, take pictures and then go to the care center to share the experience with my husband.
Going alone meant that just ten hours earlier I had received the dreaded call – he had passed in his sleep.
Sitting in the arena on that Sunday afternoon in May, I was in a fog. I desperately wanted to get up and pace – sitting still was difficult. If I sat still too long, I would begin to cry again – and this was not the place for “those” kind of tears. Mercifully I was flanked on each side by kind women who were present for grandchildren. The usual small talk ensued and, in response to their innocent questions, I had to tell them that my husband had passed just hours before. How kind they were, taking my hand and patting my shoulder – a true blessing. During our conversation we had all noticed a bird flying about in the upper rafters. We paid it little mind, because it is a common occurrence to see such things in large arenas.
Music started, the graduates processed in and sat down, and all was quiet. Then, suddenly, right at my feet was a tiny, female sparrow. She looked up at me, tilted her head and then flew away into the rafters again. How grateful I was for the distraction of this little bird’s presence. By focusing on her I could refrain from crying and move my head slightly to watch her – thus relieving my desire to get up and pace.
The little sparrow was respectful during the invocation and speeches and stayed high in the rafters – until there was a break. Each time it was quiet, she would fly down over our daughter’s head! She was causing quite a stir among the people around me, for the story had spread about why I was there “alone”; and I had already pointed out where our daughter was sitting.
As each graduate walked across the stage the little sparrow was again very respectful, waiting in the rafters quietly. Then it came our daughter’s turn. Our beautiful daughter held herself proudly and received her College Diploma with Magna Cum Laude Honors! And when she returned to her seat that little, tiny sparrow flew down from the rafters directly over her head again!
My husband loved the sparrows in our yard. He fed them regularly and made sure there were plenty of houses (which he made himself) for them. It was no “coincidence” or “accident” that brought that sparrow there to comfort me that Sunday in May three years ago.
No, the sparrow was not my husband as I heard some say. I truly believe that little bird was sent by God Himself to help His newest widow through a most difficult day.
That day I was much like that sparrow – lost and alone in a very big, strange place. In the three years since, I have grown stronger, and have been able to use my wings in ways I never expected – even in a big, strange place called “widowhood”. It has not been easy. I do still miss my husband; and, to be honest, I needed to take a break from typing to shed some tears.
Now, I ask this question: “If God is able to guide a lone sparrow to a College graduation ceremony in May, isn’t He more than able to guide each of us as we journey down our individual paths of widowhood?”
Dear Father, My love for You has grown and deepened over these last years. You have shown me in countless ways how valuable I am to You – and I am so grateful. Continue to guide us Father – we are Your tiny sparrows – so much in need of Your love and care.