Love is restored through a most
In the summer of 1984 I had decided to take
a trip. I
was recovering from what had begun as a beautiful relationship, but
ended by being destroyed by the ravages of alcoholism. The trip was
my prescription for a broken heart. I believed it
impossible to ever love again. This man had satisfied me
intellectually, emotionally, physically and
was 47, mourning the loss, and drained in every way from my efforts
to ‘cure him.’ The change of scenery eagerly
Having visited a sister in Arizona, I moved
Salem where friend Barbara and her husband greeted me at the train
station. We went immediately to their small summer
a block away from the Pacific Ocean. The smell of
water, the distant pounding of surf, the tall dry grasses that grew
in the sandy areas brought a lift to my inner despondency.
We awoke the next day to sunshine and
We decided to picnic on the beach and take long walks along the
pounding surf. The ocean waters in August were so
the bite in the wind required a sleeveless down
husband had business to attend to and we had much catching up to do,
not having seen one another for over three years. We happily packed a
lunch of salmon, cheese, crackers, water, lemonade and cookies.
Barbara and I had shared a deep interest in
and nutrition in years past. She and her husband had started a small
restaurant specializing in tofu meals, soups, salads and homemade
breads. I had taught alternative methods of healing locally in adult
education classes. Initiating a small prayer group in my local church
had seen an increase in members in a short time. We had much to
We had to walk through a vast area of sand
grasses to reach an open stretch of beach. To our utter amazement, as
we cleared the tall grasses, we came upon a seagull
the sand at the edge of the clearing. We were surprised it had not
flown away at our approach. In fact, we were more startled than it
was seeing that it did not seem ruffled at all by our close
proximity. We paused to admire it. Not having been
the ocean in years, I was awed by the sheer vastness of it. Also,
viewing seagulls from a distance their size is greatly diminished
against the blue sky or above boats moored in basins. The bird was
huge. Why didn’t it move?
It didn’t take us long before we realized
something was very wrong. Its eyes remained almost totally closed.
Its head drooping with beak disappearing into the sand. It appeared
lifeless. Approaching the bird within a foot or two brought no
response. We guessed the bird to be very sick and dying. My question
was, was it normal for a seagull to want to die on a beach near a
path where others pass fairly often?
Barbara suggested wrapping it in our
taking it to a vet. Although others may have been successful at this
in years past I had found wounded birds on the road, wrapped them up
to take to take them to a vet only to witness them go into shock,
wracked by brief, violent spasms and die on my lap as my husband sped
to a nearby town. Each incident was very distressing. I concluded
that we should leave Mother Nature alone. This bird was obviously
making its choice, strange as it seemed.
We left the bird to its chosen destiny,
belongings on the blanket we spread out on the sand, and removed our
sandals. For the next three hours or more walked the beach, watched
the waves, and sat by a log washed up on shore to have lunch.
Swimming was out of the question despite it
August. The cold wind whipped relentlessly from the ocean requiring
warmer clothing. Not a soul was in the water though a few had
gingerly put feet in the ripples only to jump back quickly. The water
The bird’s plight could not be ignored.
we chatted, I kept looking in its direction. I felt compassion and
remorse for it. Twice it made feeble, awkward attempts to fly.
Stumbling awkwardly it became comatose once again. I was bothered to
see children play around it, taunting it, trying to frighten it.
Fortunately, responsible parents pulled them away.
I observed others stopping and staring as
I did only to see heads shaking, turning away,
as we had that to try anything would be pointless. A short while
later a college student approached, bent down. Obviously, he too,
pondered the bird’s dilemma. He touched it gingerly. When a
response was not forthcoming, he shrugged, rose, and moved on.
With the sun beginning to set, we packed
remaining food, dishes, blanket, put on our sandals and headed
towards the same path back to the cottage. We passed the seagull
again. We could not ignore it being but a foot from the path. We put
our belongings down to reconsider its plight.
We decided to offer the bird some of our
response. Barbara suggested to offer our left over salmon. Eagerly,
we broke up small pieces and placed them before the inert bird.
Nothing. Complete indifference met all efforts at eliciting a
response. The same drooping head, beak sinking into the sand,
deadening lethargy continued.
“Barbara,” I said, “there is
nothing we can do. It is obviously too sick to even fly to its dying
Once again we gathered our belongings. Why
I thought of it before? “Barb,” let’s pray over
“Pray over a bird!” she blurted out.
“Yes,” I enthusiastically replied, ’you
put both your hands on its back, and I’ll put my hands on its
head. Just simply think of God’s powerful love, pour your heart
into the bird, surround it in your mind with Divine Energy! I will do
We did just that. Barbara placed her hands
back kneeling behind it while I kneeled before it with my hands on
its head. It moved not, nor struggled, nor resisted. In silence we
‘did our thing.’ Still, nothing.
Sighing heavily, I said, “let’s go. There
is nothing more to do.” She nodded in agreement.
We silently picked up the belongings once
turned to head down the long, sandy path to the cottage when we heard
a tremendous whoosh of wings and loud flapping! We
suddenly to see the bird rise straight upwards about a story high. It
then headed north with great arching flaps of its beautiful wings
flying easily, effortlessly along the water’s edge. We stood
transfixed, watching the bird’s strong flight until it became a
mere black dot on the horizon.
We turned to one another. Tears streamed
cheeks. We had just participated in and witnessed one of Nature’s
mysteries. Words could not define what we were both
feeling. Inwardly, I reflected the Great Heart that
in the Universe had brought this bird to us. Our
prayer in a mysterious way had restored a traumatized bird to life.
Its plight had revived in me what I thought had been lost forever:
compassion, concern, and love.
There was a spring to my step and a sense
as Barbara and I returned to the little cottage now bathed in the
gorgeous rays of a setting sun. For the first time in quite awhile, a
little peace had returned to my heart.
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
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