Does anybody remember good luck charms?
I remember rabbit’s foot key chains. I think the idea was to rub the foot to bring good luck. I remember dandelions too.
Remember being a kid and picking up one of the feathery ones. Then you were supposed to close your eyes, make a wish, then open your eyes and blow all the little feathery seeds into the sky so that your wish would come true.
It is said that shooting stars have meaning too. And cardinals have meaning. Dreams have meaning. Butterflies, ladybugs and leaf bugs have meaning too. All of these are said to be spiritual symbols. However, there are those who argue that all of the above are nothing but nonsense.
But me, I have my own reasons to believe in spiritual symbols.
Whether this is something for my mind to grasp to cope with a loss or if the magic in symbolism is enough to make me feel something better, either way, I’ll take it.
I think we all need something a little external to touch and feel. I think we all need something to see every so often. I say we need this because otherwise, without faith, life can be a hopeless way to live. I say spiritual signs bring us up. I say they bring comfort in otherwise uncomfortable times. At least, in my case, I say the above symbols have helped restore hope in some of my most hopeless moments.
It was four days after Mom passed away. It was my first day back to work after my bereavement time was used. Times like this are hard because regardless to our personal tragedy, everything else around us continues as if nothing ever happened. The traffic lights still worked and the television showed the news. Elevators still went up and down and the price of tea in China didn’t budge at all.
I was walking up 42nd street, lost in thought (of course) and out of nowhere, a large black and yellow butterfly landed on my shoulder. I jumped at first; not because I was afraid or have fear of butterflies, but more so, I jumped because it was strange to have anything fly over and land on my shoulder.
First, it was strange enough to see a butterfly flying around on 42nd Street in New York City. Second, I jumped because the moment was so intense. I was told to look for signs, and yes, while I was walking to work and heading from the Westside to the Eastside, I had asked Mom to send me one.
“Wherever you are Mom, just send me a sign to let me know you can hear me so that I know that you’re okay.”
One could argue the butterfly on my shoulder was nothing more than a coincidence or a freak occurrence. But me, I think I like the idea that the butterfly was Mom sending me a sign. The way I saw it was inside of me is a little boy that just misses his Mom. Above all, since I firmly believe there is nothing so strong as a mother’s love, I firmly believe this was my Mom letting me know that she will always be with me.
A few weeks later, I was walking through my front door after work. The sky was dark and the hour was later than my usual arrival.
I was tired and beaten. The day was long and the feeling of my loss was weighing heavy on my heart.
I arrived at my door with keys in hand. I placed the key in the lock, turned the key to enter my home and then swoosh, a little bird flew over my shoulder and started flying around my home. Although the bird was old enough to fly, the bird was still very young.
I couldn’t tell what kind of bird it was. Maybe it was a baby red-breasted robin. Or maybe it was another species. But regardless, the bird allowed me to approach it, perched on my finger, and then I returned the bird back outside to fly away into the nighttime sky. I never thought much about this, I never thought about spiritual symbolism. But about a week later, there was another small bird on my porch. This one not only let me approach it, I was able to pet the bird for a while until the baby bird eventually flew away.
Weeks after, I was on 42nd Street and saw a small gold finch on the sidewalk. I noticed the bird but I didn’t pay it too much mind. Besides, I was on my way to work.
Someone told me this was spiritually significant, which immediately caused some regret
because if this was so, I didn’t want to miss out on another visit from beyond. That is, if there such a thing.
A few days passed and I saw a similar bird; only, this time the bird was dead. I was sad to see this and scared too because what if this was another sign of something spiritually significant?
About a week passed and standing nearly in the same spot was another little golden finch. I approached the bird, but the bird didn’t fly away. I lowered myself to kneel at the ground and held out my finger to see if the bird would perch, which it did.
I pet the bird for a little bit. I looked around because I was unsure what to do.
I placed the bird on my shoulder and decided to walk to work. If the small baby bird stayed on my shoulder, I figured that I would raise him.
Together, the little bird and me walked for a little while. We headed passed Bryant Park, me walking with this little bird on my shoulder, and the other pedestrians looking at me strangely, as if to be surprised that a bird like the little gold finch would perch upon my shoulder. Some people stopped and asked if the bird was real. By the time, I was closer to Madison Avenue, I suppose the visit was over and the little bird flew away.
One could say this was just a fluke. One could say all of these things were just freak occurrences. And maybe they would be right. But two weeks later, it was a little sparrow this time. Only this time, I decided to bring the little sparrow over to one of the tables in Bryant Park where I was surrounded by a bunch of other sparrows. Of course, while on the way over to the park, a woman asked me if the bird was real. When I showed the woman my new little friend, she remarked that this was a symbol of connection.
“Someone is trying to reach you,” she said.
I had a few things happen like this but nothing has happened for quite a while now. I could sure use another visit like this; and whether this is nothing more than childish superstition or whether this is a true spiritual symbol or even if all of the above were nothing other than a series of freak occurrences, so what? I’ll take all I can get.
Yes, I agree when someone tells me that I use things like this as a coping mechanism.
But who cares?
It helps me get through the day and after all is said and done, isn’t that the ultimate goal?.
Now, in fairness, I can’t see me ever getting a lucky rabbit’s foot. I don’t collect lucky charms much. However, I do keep things close to my heart.
I have things like the sound of Mom’s voice or some of the memories between me and The Old Man, which I keep in a special container that I hold in my heart.
I have the love for a woman which has changed my world ever since the first time I laid eyes upon her. I have the memory of a few smiles, which I refer to when times are tough, and of course, I have this moment here, right now, between you and me.
These lucky items of mine (just like the rabbit’s foot) are something I keep with me, and when I need a little luck, I refer to them and realize that I don’t need luck because if I look deeply enough, I will realize that I am already the most luckiest man in the world.
Because I have you, that’s why . . .
and you mean everything to me!