When I'm at the kitchen sink the view out the window travels through the side yards of the house across the street, and the house behind that. Across the street from that house a side street comes to its end. That street disappears from view after several hundred yards, lost behind tall pines that provide a green screen for an empty lot. (Sort of odd in this neighborhood of many one-acre lots and nicely maintained homes, but that's not the point of this post.)
Headlights coming up that street-visible-through-the-yards caught my eye this morning. While I was busy identifying the garbage truck another sight caught my eye, this one closer to home. Directly across the street at the edge of the lawn were two doves, and one of them was white.
I'm used to seeing (and hearing) the gray-brown morning doves in the neighborhood, but I have never seen a white one in the company of another dove. I stared. They took flight.
In the few seconds it took to see, take in and process this sight, my mind was going in a new direction. "This is a sign," I thought. Of what, I have no idea. But when anomalies appear I pay attention.
Last night at our final Lenten program we talked about prayer. It was a great conversation and we covered a lot of ground. We talked about simple prayers, prayers of petition and intercession, and prayers of tears. We talked about when we prayed, how we prayed and to whom we prayed. I told a joke! We touched, inevitably, on the "everything happens for a reason" take on life. We did not talk about signs, but I think that my inclination to lean that way this morning is an extension of the conversation last night.
So what does the dove have to tell me? One of the things that we didn't get to last night is the notion that prayer is as much (if not more so) about listening for God than it is about sharing our heart's yearnings with God. This morning I'm listening. I'm hearing rain against the windows, the distant splash of a car driving through a puddle, and the flapping wings of a dove. I hear it coo. My heart is open wide to receive the divine offering and it fills with the whiteness that is the dove.
I suspect that I will have to wait to receive whatever this sign has to say to me. There are times when divine whispers are clear and distinct in the moment, but more often than not discernment must be practiced to tease out the voice of love. Or maybe the dove is not itself the sign, but the suggestion that there is something to receive. By opening my heart to listen about the dove my heart is also available to receive other things. Ahhh. Maybe that is it.
I know one thing for sure. I am on alert. There is a sense of expectation and anticipation that comes from having traveled this road before. Come what may there is one thing I know I will do. I will wait upon the Lord. On wings like the dove I will soar on the current of what is holy and feel the breath of God beneath those wings. I don't know where I will land. Wherever it is, however, it is a destination of divine design. That's a sign with which I can live.