The Daily Grace
The Daily Grace

Feathers All Around

Sep 9, 2020 | Moments of Grace, god & grace | 22 comments

IT HAS BEEN a long time since I have experienced such a surround of feathers. Unexpected though they always are, it is a phenomenon that began for me in 2011, in the last months of my mother’s life. Walking that difficult road with someone you love is hard, deeply emotional, often trying. I had just returned from a long trip to visit her when, exhausted, I stepped into our pantry, looking for something to eat. I was standing there, absently surrounded by shelves of pasta and sugar and dog food when suddenly I was overcome with the sadness of it all, the loss and fear, the reality of what was ahead. I offered a silent prayer for strength, and a tiny feather floated from the ceiling—I swear it is true—and I put out my hand and caught it.

I’ve got you, the feather seemed to say. You are not alone. I am here.

I felt calmer, comforted, grateful. And from then on, feathers seemed to appear in my life just when I most needed reassurance.

*****

It happened so often I began to write of the incidences here, chronicling them via The Daily Grace. Some were tiny and quiet, some so grand as to defy explanation. The week we took Eliza for her freshman year of college, for example. I was thrilled, delighted, over the proverbial moon that she was going to experience something as wonderful as four years at Clemson! Then we said goodbye and Tim and I drove home and sorrow and sadness and loss gut-punched me in a way I never expected. There were several days of endless tears, and then one morning I woke up, gave myself a stern talking-to and went to the kitchen for coffee, resolved to connect to the joy in life again. Standing at the window with my steaming cup (my lip quivering a bit, I cannot lie), I looked out to our beloved pond to see this.

Bickley’s Pond, 2011

Feathers, feathers everywhere, as far as the eye could see.

It was a phenomenon we had never seen on Bickley’s Pond, and we only experienced it one other time.

The day she came home, the end of her freshman year.

*****

MY MOTHER died in February of 2012. My brothers asked that I design the program for her funeral, and in doing so I felt the need to put something meaningful on the blank back page. In the notes she’d made about her arrangements—eight years prior—she’d requested the hymn On Eagles’ Wings as part of the service. I wasn’t familiar with the song, and so I looked it up, knowing it was likely based on a piece of scripture that may have been particularly meaningful to her, that I might use for the back.

Said Wikipedia:

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.

Psalm 91. Scripture I already knew 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.

I will never forget the feeling of reading that passage, knowing she had chosen it all those years prior—long before her sickness, and ages before feathers, for me, began to fall.

*****

AND HERE WE ARE NOW. Just last week I made a public statement, staked my claim as CATHY RIGG | Writer, via the (rather terrifying) public launch of a website stating such and of my acknowledgement there is a novel in the works even if it is, as it turns out, yet unfinished. Once again, feathers abound.

from this morning’s walk

I have found them in the yard, on the sidewalk, stuck to my clothes as I pulled them, entangled, from the laundry basket. On the desk to the right of the computer on which I write. I do not believe this to be coincidence, and I smile every time. It is divine messaging, I know, a reminder that although the world feels unsteady and nothing seems certain, I am to keep believing; I am to go on with my work; I am a child of God, and I am cherished and supported and beloved.

And my mother is with me, I also know this. Every sentence I write, every paragraph I strike and rewrite and write again—there she is, just as she always has been, heartily cheering me on.

XXOO


22 Comments

  1. Avatar

    So many signs from God that he is with us. In my life it has taken slowing down, often when things are really challenging, to see the signs. I am working on being thankful and thanking God for his glory big and small each day. I don’t just want to see him in times of sorrow or worry, but give thanks for his love daily. Xx

    • Avatar

      You are always an inspiration, Amey. Carry on, warrior! XXOO

  2. Avatar

    How sweet of Jesus to encourage you in your new adventure with the very thing that is familiar to you; the feathers! He is so good.
    Excited for this new season and am anxiously awaiting the release of your book.

    • Avatar

      Yes! Feathers! So much love to you.

  3. Avatar

    You never fail to lift up and show that beauty is always there

    • Avatar

      Reminds me of you, friend. 🙂

  4. Avatar

    I love how personal God is with each one of us. I am so encouraged by your story. Thank you for putting into words His faithfulness.

    • Avatar

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Pat. So happy you are here.

  5. Avatar

    How amazing that God has so vividly marked your journey through faith, love, loss and future.

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      I love this comment, Fran. You are so right. Faith, love, loss and future. The perfect way to look at it. Thank you!

  6. Avatar

    I love this!

    • Avatar

      Thanks, Cack. I love you!

  7. Avatar

    Tears and smiles for these words. Love love!

    • Avatar

      Thank you, dear friend!

  8. Avatar

    Always enjoy reading your Grace Notes and look forward to your novel

    • Avatar

      Thank you so much for letting me know! It is a joy to connect with you here. XXOO

  9. Avatar

    I find this so comforting, Cathy. Sept. 6 marked one year since my mom died. There are times I am still overwhelmed with grief. And there are times I feel her so close in the room. But always, there is a Bible of hers within reach and I feel centered again.

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      Oh, Rosie. I am so very sorry for your ongoing loss. I know it has been a difficult year, and I am happy you can feel your Mama close. I know she is there. XXOO

  10. Avatar

    Beautiful and comforting

    • Avatar

      Thank you! I so appreciate your kind comment 🙂

  11. Avatar

    What a beautiful testament to God’s love for us and how He cares about the details of our lives.

    • Avatar

      Yes, there is so much love in the details. What a beautiful thought. Thank you for being here.

Cathy Rigg Headshot

Hi. I’m Cathy.

This is a blog about writing, creative living, and grace in the everyday. It’s my hope this little spot on the internet will be for you a place of quiet and reflection, a source for inspiration, and a reminder there’s beauty all around—we simply need to keep our hearts open to see it. Thank you for being here with me.

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