I Saw a Robin Today

It is mid January.  The snow cover is about 6 inches and last night the temperature dropped to zero. I have enjoyed watching the cardinals, chickadees, dinches, nuthatches, and woodpeckers eagerly eating at our bird feeders.  I have learned that the finches don’t really leave; they just fade out in color for the winter and turn bright yellow again in the spring.

The first robin is always exciting because it means that spring is on its way. I usually call someone and tell him or her I have seen a robin. But what do I do with my experience today? I looked out the window and saw an orange-breasted robin (too perfectly marked to be mistaken) drinking water from our heated feeding bowl. I didn’t believe it so I looked harder and knew that, although I couldn’t explain it, I had seen a robin today.

We often remark that life brings sorrows that we do not expect and that do not fit in our paradigm of faith. Is it possible that this robin was sent to remind me that visitations of grace also penetrate the expected and bring a surge of joy into an otherwise wintery day?

I am going to resist the temptation to call Retzer Nature Center and ask if it is possible to have seen a robin today. I am not going to insist on some rational explanation. I am going to enjoy the mystery of my experience.

God, help me to be observant of your surprises. As I write of faith through aging eyes may I not limit my future to that which I am capable of expecting. Stun me with your surprises.

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