This blog is written as my own election to focus on symbolism in a special way, using a true example from a very difficult time. I have mentioned countless times through the years several anecdotes from one very significant event. An experience which most assuredly helped to redefine my outlook and perception on many, many, levels. As I mentioned in my previous blog, the month of July is very tender for me. Writing something here from those confused and fragile days some years back is my goal of providing some positive content for this particular weekly writing-share.
Each and every day right now is unique unto the next due to this virus mess, there isn’t a person on the planet who would disagree. Yet still, most 24-hour cycles are the same as the previous one in so many other ways. Specifically, it is just so easy to get lost in a blur of time and thus become void of previously predictable structured comforts. This neglect of clarity affords me countless amounts of freedom to be reminded of a lot of key learnings and poignant memories experienced over time. I use some of them as a personal coping means. But one really still resonates with me as it offers a foundation for strength during this crisis.
It all starts with a colorful feathered bird more affectionately known by Stacey, Aryn, Kaden, and myself as “Red”. A friendly cardinal void of age, sex, or predictability. It most definitely possessed interpretive purposes to those who elected to accept them. Seeing one has a very powerful hidden and underlying meaning to it. (For fun, research this in your spare time.)
We learned the magic first-hand in the Prouty Gardens at Boston Children’s Hospital. (Unfortunately, at the time of this recollection this place no longer exists). As a family, we spent many of our darkest days there. Prouty was a small, very lush tropical oasis found carefully preserved amidst the brick and steel towers of Hospital Row. A place where sick children and their families might venture to, in the pursuit of finding peace with current circumstances. I detail this experience in a chapter of my upcoming book Stealing Home.
It is written when you see a cardinal, the act of doing so represents a number of symbolic meanings ranging from finding balance to spirituality, or from gaining hope to confidence. It is quite incredible actually. We were fortunate to be quickly educated about the merits of our particular cardinal making an appearance at some opportune junctures during our battle. A sighting for us represented hope in its most basic and purest form. As the deck quickly became stacked against survival for our little boy, we found the renewed purpose to carry on. By such a simple visual encounter. “Red” never let us down.
When you consider the notion of bird-watching, in the act of seeking hope against incredible odds, the power of doing so is underscored. As our two-year-old was riddled with cancer, we routinely found inspiration upon seeing this same one. The will to carry on was delivered to us. The day instantly became valid and our efforts revitalized. Strength to fight and to remain hopeful was gifted upon his appearance each and every time. It happened, over and over again. We simply looked for our Cardinal when the sun never seemed to shine.
When you are at a low point in your life, there are days when your mind becomes heavily weighted with confused thoughts, you want to find a place to turn for answers even though none are forthcoming. As this happens, we tend to become desperate for calm. Currently, in today’s COVID climate, this has never seemed to be truer. People frustrate, concern, and long for anything which may ease the day in whatever manner possible. As this virus continues to keep us all off our game, I offer perhaps it is time to take a page from yesterday and for each of you to start seeking your own version of inspiration.
“Red” is an interpretive concept. It can take the form of whatever resonates within you. A song, a contact, a meaningful place, a memory, or simply something tangible with which we assign new spiritual value, meaning, or purpose. Ours happened to arrive in the form of a beautiful bird. We will never stray from the meaning we assigned to it back then. Today the sighting of a cardinal still holds the same intrinsic value to me as it did a dozen years ago.
There are no guarantees given for tomorrow or the next, we persevere and discover. Right now, we obsess more and more about so many things we cannot control in terms of future circumstances. I submit it makes perfect sense to find a little bit of uplifting symbolism to aid in our troubled times. Just as Stacey, Aryn, and I had had done back then with our brightly colored winged friend.
Look around you with refocused eyes, and a slightly more liberal heart. There are peace and hope hidden somewhere for each of us to identify, particularly right now during this tumultuous cycle. The only requirement needed to find them is the willingness to do so and the awareness to recognize when presented. Take a ride in your car, walk down a wooded road, or casually allow the waves the lap at your ankles. This blog will become clearer.
For the very first time, you may experience new perspective. Trust me on this. I offer you my eyes in the interim via my words, as you begin to realize your own version of what hope and peace may represent to you. Find your “Red” and carry forth it’s meaning. You will be surprised at how warm the sun feels tomorrow and how rich the day will become in terms of outlook.
I smiled earlier while looking out my window. Was it “him”? I’ll leave that up to fate to provide the answer.
It is true, however… I feel pretty damn good right now while making plans to see my little miracle named Kaden later on. Rest assured, “K” and I may take another peek out the window when he arrives. It might be nice for him to say “hello” again too.
Just in case…