Recently my husband passed on very suddenly. I'll have to admit there've been times I've felt, at the least, incapable of casual conversation, and at the worst, as though there were an enormous lump in my throat.
But even on days like that, some small event occurs that reminds me of God's love for me – that hints at an order, a peace, beyond the one I can see right now.
A very small example: A few days ago, I returned early from a trip that I was supposed to have taken with my husband. I'd been with friends, but I'd often felt awkward and alone. As I walked down the path to our house, I saw a baby robin that had fallen out of its nest and was hopping around on the ground, looking helpless and lost. Tears came to my eyes. I felt so much like that robin!
Over the years, I've read many of the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, and as I thought about the plight of the robin – and my own – a phrase came to me that I was sure she wrote. I went into the house and looked it up: "Let us open our affections to the Principle that moves all in harmony, – from the falling of a sparrow to the rolling of a world" ("Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896," p. 174).
This writer also uses the metaphor of the "nestling" in one of her poems: "Thou Love that guards the nestling's faltering flight!/ Keep Thou my child on upward wing tonight" ("Poems," p. 4).
I didn't know quite what to do for the small robin in a practical way, and I saw that someone had put a dish of water out for it, so I went inside.
For several days, I heard that little robin singing its heart out. He would begin singing early in the morning, continue all day, then stop at night. This small bird was a living example of a verse from Psalms that means a great deal to me: "I will sing praises unto my God, while I have any being" (Ps. 146:2). Any being. Any at all.
I prayed for some way to know that those lines were true – that God was caring for this fallen "sparrow," and for me – that He was governing the "nestling's faltering flight."
Then an interesting thing occurred. A new neighbor stopped by while she was out walking her dog. When she saw our little robin, she told me that a similar event had occurred in her garden with several baby robins, and that she had assured her husband that "nature" would take care of the fallen birds.
For several days, she and her husband had watched while adult robins swooped down regularly to feed the little ones. Eventually the baby robins got bigger, then figured out on their own that they could fly, and off they went!
The next time I went outside, I saw an adult robin bring a fat worm to "my" nestling. Over time, the robin continued to grow, and soon was taking short flights on its own.
This lesson from nature brought home for me that there is a care beyond our own human understanding. But the divine power that is watching over us all – irrespective of our creeds, nationalities, and ethnic ties – is far greater even than nature. The Infinite that feeds us, clothes us, and helps us get up and fly on our own, so to speak, is God Himself, the Parent of all creation – literally, "the Principle that moves all in harmony."
As I sort through my options and regain my poise, I'm endeavoring to open my affections to this "Principle that moves all in harmony." And I'm seeing God's care for me in tangible ways.
If you, too, are facing the loss of a loved one – whether you live in Paris or Los Angeles or Haifa or Beirut – please know that you have many friends across the world, like me, who include you in their prayers. May you witness God's tender presence with you right where you are.
When I sit in darkness, the Lord
shall be a light unto me.