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Pink Feathers

A Revelation

I was raised Catholic. I re­member how my mom so enjoyed get­ting our Sunday dresses and little white gloves ready for church the night before. She carefully laid them out on our beds. Then she checked our purses to be sure the essentials were all in order - rosary beads, prayer book and change for the donation basket. Sitting in the pews and singing hymns to the bellowing organ had a certain charm and mystique. I got a real charge lifting my heart everytime the bell rang and a subtle fascination tugged at my soul when we knelt by the candles to light them for loved ones. 


Saturday mornings were much less formal, spent with the Sisters in Cat­echism class - instruction on becoming a good disciple. I tried to understand it all. I really did. But in my ten-year-old mind, I was still trying to figure out di­vorce and why this great and powerful God didn’t step in to stop my family from falling apart. 


So, I stopped going to church - and class. I sat with the pigeons instead. During the week, I saved the ends of our bread at home and then ripped them up into bitty pieces to feed the silly scaven­gers. I loved to watch them squawk and peck and fly about. I guess my mind en­joyed wandering off with them. 


I made it through my holy com­munion and barely slid through confir­mation for lack of attendance but in the end, I did receive my sacraments. It was shortly thereafter I became an atheist. After the divorce, Mom worked relentlessly to ensure we had a good home, clothes and food. My sister was deep in her teen years, and my dad spent his days on the road trying to recover and find himself. Somewhere along the way, he found Florida - and the Lord. 


With me now in junior high and my sister in high school, the first part of Dad’s journey was quite enticing. I mean what teen wouldn’t give their right arm to spend their springbreak in Fort Lau­derdale - the springbreak capital of the 60s, 70s and 80s - not to mention the warm weather, gorgeous blue skies and luscious palm trees. New York was just so cold and grey. Plus, Dad had a little bungalow right on A1A, Lauderdale By The Sea, where all the action was. When we got to his place, my sister and I would hurriedly unpack so we could venture to the Strip, but Dad would go on and on about how he found God. Oh, how we would blow him off. 


“Okay, Dad... We got ya.” 

“Well,” he’d say calmly, “you don’t seem to understand....” 

“Yeah, we do, Dad.” 

Enough already! Boy would we get miffed. Our teenage hormones were racing and it was time to party! 


But, Dad, the ever faithful new-found man in God, wouldn’t give in. He was determined to help us see the light. After a few rounds of rhetoric, we just let him have it. 


“Stop, Dad! We don’t want to hear anymore! There is NO God!”   

Well. That was it.


My dad looked at us - sitting in his chair, legs tightly crossed, eyes wide open, looking like black coals. His index finger pointing straight up he said, “I don’t know how and I don’t know where, but my pal is going to give you a sign and you’re going to know He’s there!”


Right. Cuckoo! Time to go.


“Okay, Dad, see you later.” We bolted out the door, ran to the shore and headed for fun.

We rolled up our jeans so the wa­ter would wash over our feet. We started talking about how Dad got so worked up about God. We just didn’t get it.


After walking for a few minutes, my sister stopped and grabbed my arm. She looked down in the sand and said, “Darlene, do you see what I see?” I was thinking to myself has she gone crazy now, too? I looked down. In the wet sand was God written in huge letters, underlined three times, just there long enough for us to see it and then a wave came ashore and washed it away.


You know, I still get chills think­ing about that moment. And the best part is, my sister was with me. So if I ever doubted it happened, she confirms it for me, and I for her.


I can’t explain it, but after awhile, it all really started to make sense. All the sermons, prayers and lessons from church and catechism classes - they start­ed playing through my mind. I found myself actually opening up the Bible and reading. I wanted to understand. It became my treasure map and I couldn’t get enough. 


I dove into the Word with a full-on gusto I had never experienced before and, WOW, how the lights went on! Life is so much more than meets the eye. I mean, if I take a blank canvas, I have to pick up a crayon or pencil or a paint brush and start drawing to get a picture on it. Then I have to add color and texture and shading and layers. I have to use my mind and imagination to create something tangible, give it depth and meaning. I can’t just close my eyes and say “poof!” Though I wish I could! Because it’s hard work! I know some­thing magnificent had to put it all here - us all here. All I have to do is look at the sky or the ocean - my son or my daughter. We live in a multi-faceted, multi-dimensional world. So complex, in fact, that we just can’t understand everything all the time. Not divorce, or logic, or raging teenage hormones.


My dad is gone now but not a day goes by that I don’t miss him. I’ll always remember his eyes like coal, his finger pointing straight up, and that divine revelation on the shore.


Thank you, Dad, for never giving up on us. We love you 4-ever. 


 


 

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