Once when my daughter was around 4 years old, we were talking about birds. She told me how much she loved birds, and how she wanted one for a pet. I told her that birds needed to fly for exercise, so it would be a lot of work to have one as a pet. We would have to let it fly around the house and clean up after it every day.
Then I got it into my head that if we were going to do all that work, we might as well get a hawk, and let it live outside where it could fly wherever it wanted. We wouldn’t have to clean up after it either. We got very excited and started to Google articles on how to train a baby hawk, and how to build an aviary. We lived in a rural area, and since I’m very good with building wooden structures, and the plans looked simple enough, we dug in. My daughter started drawing pictures of birds while I did further research.
Unfortunately about 5 minutes into my research, I saw that the cost of a hawk egg was over $800, and though likely, there was no guarantee that it would even hatch. Training a hawk chick appeared to be a full time job, and by the looks of those talons, they could easily take out the eye of a four year old if training went wrong. We scrapped the plans, taped a bird drawing on the fridge, and went outside to play.
We were a little disappointed until I had an idea. “Why don’t we ask a hawk to move onto our property? We could enjoy it from a safe distance!” I said to her.
At four, she was still into a magical fantasy way of being, so she was very agreeable to the idea. We stood up and raised our hands to the sky and said “Beautiful hawk out there somewhere, would you come and live on our hill please?” Then we went off for a walk, or to the playground, or did whatever we used to do back then.
The next evening, I was coming back from dinner with friends around 10pm on a brightly moonlit night, and I saw a stunning bird standing on the hill next to my house with it’s wings spread wide. The wingspan must have been close to as wide as I am tall. In the moments that my headlights shined on it I noticed that it was a light brown or golden color.
I was struck with awe and a huge grin. Only yesterday did we ask a hawk to visit that spot? Was that a hawk? Or better yet, was it a golden eagle? My daughter’s vision of a hawk must have been much larger than mine! In the four years that we lived in rural Michigan, I had never seen a bird that majestic and that huge up close. After a few moments, the bird flew up and away. In that short time that seemed to stretch longer than it was, I felt like God wanted to play with us.
I was reminded of this experience on Saturday when I was talking with some friends about the hidden power that we all have, especially when we unite in love with another. It just never struck me before that we don’t have to have some “higher” purpose in mind in order to connect with the divine in all things. Simple love coupled with the desire to enjoy life together can be enough for a miracle.