A little bit of scripture would be nice here on the back, I thought, putting the final touches on the program for a service to celebrate her remarkable life, this woman who was rather—shall I say it—choosy. And so I googled On Eagles’ Wings, a hymn she had specified, a song not familiar to me.
On Eagles’ Wings is a devotional song composed by Michael Joncas, a priest, in 1979 after Vatican Council II, when the Catholic Church began using vernacular hymns at Mass. Its words are loosely based on Psalm 91 and Isaiah 40:31.
A Psalm. Perfect. And so I clicked on the link for the verse, trying to act normal, trying to act as if this were just another design project rather than the program for my own mother’s funeral. And suddenly there on my computer screen it appeared. This scripture I didn’t recognize by number. This scripture I certainly know by heart.
He shall cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
Tears filled my eyes.
You see, I started noticing the feathers, started believing they were divine messages of reassurance just after a visit with my Mother about two years ago. I walked into the pantry to put some food away and offered an impromptu prayer for hope, a prayer for guidance as I thought about the challenges she faced, the road we were to travel together. From nowhere, a tiny little feather came floating down in front of me.
I am here, it seemed to say. You are not alone.
And so I believed.
I told my mother many of the feather stories as they happened over the last two years. Healthy, I know she would have loved the promise of it all. But as it was, she never really understood. She never really got it.
In fact, she never even read thedailygrace.
Then comes this moment of deep sadness, this time of guttural loss as I make my way through the first days following her death. And of all the choices she could have made for her funeral, of all the scripture and all the songs, my mother had chosen a hymn based on a psalm about feathers.
Feathers. The inspiration for this blog.
The sign in my life that brings comfort and reassurance.
As if that’s not enough, there is also this.
She made these plans eight years ago.
the things that we believe in (September 7, 2011)
Feathers, Friends and Sweet Little Nudges (November 6, 2011)
coming home (May 28, 2012)
here, there, everywhere (July 25, 2012)
unforced rhythms of grace (August 29, 2012)
Miracles (December 6, 2012)