Peace, Love, Dove

Converging. Convergence … multiple things making their way toward a single point … like a flock of birds lighting upon a fence … all with the same intent, being of one mind. At the onset, you may not realize that seemingly unrelated ‘things’ are laying claim to the words ‘intentional design’. One by one, the messenger birdies line up. Have you ever observed and experienced this phenomena? Many cultures believe that the unusual appearance of a bird(s) is a sign, a message. The old testament and the new testament of the Bible offers the dove as a loving example. This troubled old world could sure use a message of hope, wouldn’t you agree?

Not often in my life have converging coincidences happened. Like what?? Ohhh, circumstances, happenings, various ‘things’ that make you take notice … and as they converge, you also see what appears to be a theme, a pattern. Then, almost on cue, unbelief pokes his nose into the process and scoffs. But, then, you’re left with these things kinda haunting you (for lack of a better word). This convergence just wouldn’t let me rest. Then, another little item dropped into my lap which only heightened a sense of wonder and it hastened my conviction that coincidence was losing ground. I might’ve dismissed it, but, I just can’t leave it alone. A good mystery is too much for me to walk away from. So, it has been like that for me for over a week … “stuff” happening. Well, longer than that, but, things really became more concentrated in the last week.

I began to see that there might be a message in all of what I was noticing (and I do mean all around me … in my life and in the whole wide world). Like???? A peaceful feeling message via an appointed messenger. I was also getting the distinct impression that the message isn’t just for little ole me. No. Big message, big target, big purpose. Big love is designed to spread.

I’ve always had a fondness for doves, but, probably no more than a lot of folks who would agree that they’re one of the most beautiful birds in the avian world. Doves have an ancient reputation for being messengers of good news … and as symbols of things we hold dear: faith, hope, love … and peace. These short, one syllable words aren’t mere words. They’re the “power tools” of survival – especially when you’re in dire need of personal empowerment.

“Safe in the ark; I have folded my wings, I’m safe in the ark, and I dread not the storm though around me the surges may roll. Welcome for me, Savior from thee; a smile and a welcome for me.” Fanny Crosby, 1885

Over the past year, whenever I visited my farmgirl pal, Lisa, I noticed that doves frequent her birdfeeder. Doves! Now, for some of you, that may not seem like a miracle. But, for this high plains resident, who, as a girl, loved to watch birds at feeders hung in my folk’s apple tree … well, I coveted Lisa’s birdfeeders bustling with hungry birds. The majority of birds where we live (out on the prairie) are ground feeders because of the lack of trees. They do not come to a feeder. Sigh. In my daydreams, I saw doves adding such charm to my country home.

I’m not sure what day it happened … but, sometime late this past summer, doves began to appear in my garden yard. I was one “pickled tink” farmgirl !! This arid place took on a more ‘cottagey’ feel … my little oasis on the plains. Oasis indeed! 2012 was the driest summer here since the 1930s.

About the same time that Red-Wing Blackbirds show up at the open feeders on my garden fence, doves appeared. For about a month before they migrate, I feed a mob of red-wings. But, back to the doves. When I first saw them, there were just two. I gasped and figured they were lost. But, then there were half a dozen. Now, thirty or more. I smile all the way to my bones. Of all the birds that might come here to eat and stay, I can’t think of any that are prettier … or that I’d rather have as a guests. The doves eagerly accepted my hospitality, they invited more friends & family, and, day by day, I’ve gotten to know these timid birds better.

I assumed that ‘my’ doves are Mourning Doves, but these are Collared Doves … somewhat similar, but not the same. Here are photos for comparison. Mourning Dove – dash on neck and variable spots on wings. Collared Dove – barred neck, no wing spots, darker feet.

So, I proceeded with my little life as usual – except that now I have to buy quite a bit of birdseed for my flock of doves!

I’m a news watcher and moderately political. Like many Americans, I care about the political process, I pay attention to what is going on, I vote, and then I go back to work.

Peace. Not much of it in the news nowadays. Peace has been interrupted regularly in our country’s history, but, ‘peace time’ would return. No more. In recent years, there has been no real peace. In this world – all over – Peace is thinning badly, unraveling at every seam – abroad and here in the U.S. People have less and less peace in their homes too. There is unrest afoot … undeniably so. It is troubling to watch turmoil on the rise and peace fading ever more rapidly. What are we to do? How are we to carry on with the business of living, being mindful of the state of the world? Ignoring it, brushing aside WORLDWIDE unrest is an option, but a monumentally foolish choice. Looking down the barrel at hard truth is part of the peace process – personally as well as in a larger political sense. It must be faced and addressed with clarity of purpose.

There is a personal peace that descends down into our being, a peace that surpasses our understanding. It is no less real simply because the presence of it is beyond our mental grasp. It is real and it is available. I need it to cope with even my everyday trials.

Historically, there have been many role models down through the ages that responded wisely to trouble on the horizon – with peace of mind and a still, strong spirit. Wasn’t easy for them either. They weren’t super-human. “They was just folks” and all humans are prone to worry, prone to let fear seap into our pores. So, what did they do? They didn’t prepare to panic, but they did prepare. And, what is more, the wise and thoughtful soul encourages … and tries to help others prepare – paying it forward, so to speak.

Preparation. I like the idea anyway – even where there is no whiff of trouble on the wind. I like having a plan. Being prepared for things to go awry isn’t a panic button. It is just common sense applied to Life. When you’re concerned or flat out worried, you feel better just by doing something constructive that moves you in the right direction. Preparation gets folks through a bad snow storm or a power outage. Preparing for something more long-lasting is even smarter. There are people, many people all around us who have survived terrible times of hardship and they would never suggest that we live like the grasshopper instead of the ant. But, they would also offer this comfort: peace returned.

But, first, there will probably be trials to endure. Troubling times, rough water, hard choices, living conditions most of us have not experienced, turmoil in much closer proximity. These trials call for peace of mind blended with an attitude of gritty, enduring optimism. Many call it faith. Faith doesn’t just hope for the dove’s return. Faith educates and it watches expectantly.

My farmgirl pals have been a source of strength for my inner farmgirl. We talk about the things we see happeing in the world. Boosting morale is important! Being preparedness minded – whether or not black clouds are forming in the world is a farmgirl thing. However, we agree that getting more serious about fattening up our larder because the times they are a’changing is just plain smart. One gal is really into freeze-dried and dehydrated staples while another has put away a lot of home canned goods. All of us are thinking beyond just food and emergency items now and we’re going down a list of things that might become unavailable or terribly expensive.

There are several very good freeze dried, dehydrated, packaged organic food sources online – our own MaryJanesFarm pantry being one!! http://shop.maryjanesfarm.org/store/c/3-Food-Pantry.aspx

Another company that offers preparation supplies and excellent quality freeze-dried food with long shelf life is Shelf Reliance. http://www.shelfreliance.com/

Where does the dove come into all of this? Well, ok, just like an old-timey symbol of a spiritual messanger, doves began to appear at my home, then in my readings, and then, lo & behold, I find a wounded dove on the highway by our house. There she was, limping along in the gravel … a symbol of broken peace. She wasn’t mortally wounded – she’d just been dinged by a car minutes before – her lower back to be specific. I tucked her inside my jacket – no struggle. When I placed her in a wire crate, she ate and drank within a few minutes. I’m assuming I’ll set her free sometime soon when she is able to fly. In the meantime, she has played an unexpected role in my life. This gentle, injured dove, timid as she is, gentle as she is … has emboldened me. Because this bird is also a symbol of the Holy Spirit working in a person’s life, she helped me talk to my sister about matters of faith and preparedness. Our conversation gave us both a sense of confirmation and confidence. She was also inspired to pursue a personal goal and to get motivated about homefront preparedness.

Coincidence? Flat no. Affirmation, yes – another word I’ve been drawn to of late. This living, breathing creature, a symbol of peace, has shown me that we’re moving toward a lasting peace that we all hope for. It is real and we will walk in it one day. I also relate to this little dove – when she is frightened. When I treat her wound and clean her cage, I have to catch & hold her; initially she sometimes struggles (although doves do not struggle like the majority of wild birds). No, doves quiet quickly, once they realize that when they quit struggling, you loosen your grasp. Now, when I open my hands, the dove sits there peacefully content … even when I draw her close to me! Trust. When trust permeates your being, it brings peace of mind. Now, she will even step onto my finger – a wild bird just one week ago. I get the lesson, loud & clear: I’m the trembling dove in need of putting more trust in the hands that hold me and my future.

I look forward to turning my dove loose. I hope she’ll recover fully so that she can return to her family. I’ve read that doves make wonderful, affectionate pets — even better ‘first birds’ than parakeets. And, while the idea is appealing on the surface, I want real peace for her, not captive safety … not a life of longing to be free.

Freedom loving beings long for a place to peacefully prosper, where they make their own choices in safety and live as nature and God intended. That, in a nutshell, is my prayer for the people of this world. Death via war happens to hundreds of people every day!! Peace will come to pass as one of many fulfilled promises, but hard times will preceed it. I am greatly relieved and comforted by this: my obligation toward the happy ending is portioned perfectly for one little dove (that’d be me … or you?). Glad I am that I don’t have to be bigger than I am. Instructions for us little doves: be faith, be truth, be comfort, be compassion, be patient, be thankful. You don’t have to be big to be any of those.

The diminutive little dove, throughout history, has played the role of messenger (literally, in the case of pigeons). Unlikely as it may seem (especially to me), I’ve received several ‘messages’ lately; perhaps several so that I wouldn’t miss or dismiss the ‘big picture’. I can’t ignore the gentle comfort and encouragement I’ve received … nor the urging to pass it on in the best way I know how.

One thought that came to me was this: What would Noah’s family say to me if I could ask them about their experience and how it relates to my/our future. How did they feel when their dove returned with the olive branch? How about before it returned? I think they would enthusiastically encourage me to share hope … the same kind of hope they felt … and faith in a fulfilled promise that they experienced firsthand. Below is that moment of reward, captured by a long ago artist’s paintbrush. The Return Of The Dove

Do any of you remember hearing Marty Robbins sing “On the Wings Of A Snow White Dove”? It is a lovely, country-western hymn – very easy to sing along with. The verses – so sweet … the message – so clear.

When troubles surround us

When evils come

The body grows week

The spirit grows numb

When these things beset us

He doesn’t forget us

He sends down his love … on the wings of a dove.

When Noah had drifted

On the flood many days

He searched for land

In various ways

Troubles, he had some

But wasn’t forgotten

He sent him His love … on the wings of a dove.

On the wings of a snow-white dove

He sends His pure sweet love …

A sign from above on the wings of a dove.

 

So, my dear farmgirl sisters, Please prepare yourselves and your families for times that might test our resolve. It is a good idea even if the proposed “fiscal cliff” we hear about on the news (non-stop) doesn’t impact this country as deeply as some insist that it will. Make, find and create peace and beauty in every day. That, combined with practical measures, will be food for your own soul and for those in your spere of care and influence. Follow the dove’s leading. They know the way to the place of olive trees and lasting peace.

Peace, Shalom,

Shery J

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  1. Katie M. says:

    One more thing about the lovely Dove. When I first started raising chickens – the gal I bought them from gave me a dove to keep in the coop. She told me a Dove would help keep the spider webs away. My lovely dove – named Dusty – alas met her maker by some unknown critter. I sure missed her. Loved the cooing too.

    ———

    REALLLLY? I suppose you have to get the dove when it is a baby so that it imprints on the chickens and stays around…? Hmm. ~Shery

  2. Joan says:

    Shery, what a wonderfully spiritual writing – thank you.
    A little over 6 yrs. ago my sister and I moved from a large city to a new development on an old ranch – yes sorry the ranch had gone dry years before – but needless to say there are few trees of any consequence – I had put out several feeders to help the birds in this new habitat and all of a sudden one day I saw something moving on the ground – and then it flew to the fence – oh my goodness it was a Collard Dove. I had no idea what it was so I took pictures, as best I could and took them to ‘This Place is for the Birds’ – a wonderful bird feeding shop – on an old ranch, they told me what it was and what to feed it. We now have many of the ‘Peace’ birds, as I call them – what a joy to listen to and watch. Oh, by the way I am the one that had told you I have a huge cage – well now that I know you wanted it for a short time and I never got it to you – I am going to fix it so the ‘Peace’ can use it – yes it is very large – there will be perches, water and protection – not quite sure how I will do that but am thinking of tying some evergreen branches to the cage – just a little respite from the weather. Again thanks for writing. God Bless

    ——

    Hi Joan!! I bet you can just put some branches in the cage and wedge the ends between the bars. I really hope I can turn this dove loose. It is looking that way, she’s flying now … short bursts in the porch. I do NOT like the fantasies my young cat is entertaining. 😉   Shery

  3. Mary says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. My husband, 88 year old mother and I enjoy the same doves in our yard everyday, it’s great watching them and the joy they bring.

  4. Treese says:

    We also do not have any doves here on the ranch in Colorado. Just big old black crows. In the winter we have loads of birds coming to the feeders I also have a large bowl on the porch fence that heats the water for them to have a nice warm drink in the winter.

    I went to Harvard for my education and I remember the beautiful doves that would coo all day. They were so pretty and gentle looking. I always fed them when I ate my lunch sitting on the grass with my friends. I missed them very much when I graduated and left Cambridge. I also loved the big Red Cardinals (especially at Christmas) they have there and the Seagulls at the seashore.

    Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving.
    Treese/Colorado Cowgirl
    ————–

    Back at ya, Treese … may your list of Thanksgiving blessings be long. When I lived in Ohio years back, I thought Cardinals were the most exotic thing I’d ever seen. We just don’t have that kind of color out thisaway. Brilliant red birds in tree branches laden with snow … Magical.   Shery

  5. Cathy says:

    Shery, thank you so much for writing this article! It’s everything I want to remind myself of everyday in one place. I’m going to save this article to read often and send it on to others who need these encouraging words. As I read, I could feel the Holy Spirit come alive in your words. It’s such a blessing to be used by Him. Enjoy your blessed doves and the significance they’ve given you.

  6. katherine says:

    This is a very thought provoking post, thanks for sharing from your heart. Ah yes, On the Wings of a Snow White Dove…one of my favorites hymns, so comforting!

  7. Bonnie says:

    Beautiful message, Shery! Like Katherine, I will also be saving this message and sharing with others!

  8. Tanna says:

    Shery, thank you so much for sharing this with us. You said so many things that I have been thinking myself these last few weeks. I find the doves coming to your yard very interesting. I have a friend whose husband was diagnosed with cancer this year. Shortly after his finding out he had cancer, a dove showed up in their yard and has stayed all Summer. They truly believe it is a sign from God that he will be with them to love and comfort them. Thanks Again!

    ———

    I believe it too and hope that your friend will be victorious!!! A dove also showed up at my sister’s new residence (as one of the items on my list of dovey occurances in and around my life). For her, the single dove visitation served to jolt her awake in an area that she’d not been motivated to explore. I know, I know … some are skeptical. I was too. WAS.  Thank you evryone for your kind words and for sharing here.   ~Shery

  9. Sharon says:

    Shery, This beautiful post brought tears to my eyes. I am very concerned about the future. Thank you.

  10. cora jo says:

    Sheri…amen and amen. thank you! Your heart is loverly.

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