My Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October, 2004, and told he had about 5 weeks to live. The year before he had finally retired and gotten married for the second time. He was only 66 years old. He lived on a flowage in northern Wisconsin and a pair of eagles made their home in a nest right across the flowage from my Dad’s home. He watched those eagles and talked to God and his faith grew. His favorite verse became Isaiah 40:31, which states in the New International version of the Bible, “those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” He talked about eagles a lot and they took on great importance for him.
My sisters and I didn’t know what to do for my Dad for Christmas that year because we knew it would be his last. We wanted to do something special because he had always made Christmas so special for all of us. We ended up hiring a guy to carve the top of a tree on my Dad’s property into an eagle while we all watched. My Dad loved that day.
It wasnt long after my Dad died that I started seeing eagles, a lot. It often happened when I was feeling really low, or questioning God, or missing my Dad. I clearly remember driving in my car on one occasion, talking to God about all of my missed opportunities to let my Dad know how much I loved him and to have reassurance of how much he loved me back. I was driving on a bridge over the Eau Claire river when I saw this amazing eagle soaring in circles up above. I remember feeling a sense of peace and I was sure this was a sign from God that my Dad did love me and knew how much I loved him.
Since then there have been many times that eagles have made an appearance at just the moment when I needed reassurance from God and they have come to be a symbol to me of strength, peace, serenity, and God’s faithfulness and unending love. Whenever I am feeling unsettled or unsure, I find myself with my eyes to the sky, in search of eagles. What I am really looking for is comfort, affirmation, and faith that it, whatever “it” is at the moment, will work out okay in the end and exactly as God has planned.
I don’t see eagles every time I am in search of them. I do see them every time God knows I need to, even when I am not aware of my need. Sometimes I see an eagle when I have no recognizable need and I use these times as an opportunity to notice the peace I am feeling and thank God.
Like my Dad, my faith has grown through talking to God and searching for eagles. I have learned through my growing faith that God has a sense of humor and sometimes needs to get my attention by other means. Sometimes, when I am in search of eagles, God sends a cricket.
To be continued . . .