She is elderly, and has lost dear ones lately. She has had some health problems. She feels shuttered in and isolated by the darn covid debacle. She is no longer allowed to garden, so she is denied all the joys of that lifelong hobby. Because they take their masks off at senior yoga, and her doctor and her kids don’t like that, she is denied that, too.

But long ago, she planted that prairie garden standby, purple coneflower. She has tons of it, right outside the window where she sits. She has really enjoyed watching a beautiful little goldfinch pick at the dark seedheads in the late summer sunlight.

Then, yesterday, she heard a thud at her front storm door. Oh, no! The goldfinch had flown right into it. It was crumpled on the ground.

Her heart breaking, she flung the door open, gently cradled the bird, and tenderly rubbed its little breast, hoping to see a spark of life. But there was none.

She cried.

The covid, and the isolation, and the ugly rioting and fighting on TV, and now this. Oh, no, Lord, not this, too!

Then she saw her neighbor outside. She made a beeline toward her, waving. They stopped, six feet apart. Then she asked, “Do you still hug?”

They fell into a bear hug of an embrace that lasted for at least 10 seconds.

Human contact! It was the Rx she needed. She told why she was upset, and the neighbor pointed out that for so many years, many goldfinches had been fed by her purple coneflowers. She had given life, lots of life. And more would come.

There came that smile back. There came back that resolve, to know that life is good and God is near, no matter what.

The little flash of gold and black might be gone today. But “hope is the thing with feathers” (Emily Dickinson) and her faith had wings to see her through.


 We are troubled on every side,

yet not distressed;

We are perplexed,

but not in despair;

Persecuted, but not forsaken;

Cast down, but not destroyed. . . .

-2 Corinthians 4:8-9

By Susan Darst Williams • 9/5/2020 • • © 2020