After a few minutes of watching the bird, I got up and went back inside the house to refill my coffee cup. With coffee in hand, I sat down on my bench and noticed a feather lying on the ground between my feet.
I leaned over to pick it up thinking how nice that the pigeon had left me a souvenir. But as I looked up again, what I saw brought me to my feet.
Hundreds of feathers now covered my lawn and driveway. The beautiful pigeon had stepped out into the road while I was inside refilling my coffee and now it lay dead before my eyes—most likely hit by a car. I stood there devastated by what had just happened.
Then I looked down at the creature, with its iridescent neck, plump body, and pink feet, and noticed an identification ringlet around its ankle.
I ran inside to get a pen and paper to write down the information. I called several government agencies to inform them of what had happened, but to my dismay none of them was interested in my pigeon, and, in fact, could not care less—especially now that the bird was dead.
In tears, I went back inside to get a shovel so I could carry the precious bird into the woods where I would bury it. My grief opened up deep feelings about how this pigeon's life reflected my own. I had been hurt at work, needed major surgery, and would never be able to go back to my job again. I had become just another casualty in the line of duty.
I decided that this poor animal was going to be buried with dignity, and so I went to find some meaningful trinket that I could bury along with the pigeon.
After several minutes of searching, I spotted a little green ribbon on which was printed in gold letters, "Who you are makes a difference." It had been given to me by a group leader at the prison where I used to work, where I was involved in a special program that encouraged the inmates to become more accountable for their actions, past and present, and helped motivate them toward more productive lives.
Upon returning to the woods with the ribbon in hand, I was shocked to find the pigeon gone. Apparently the local feral cat had taken it underneath the old shed while I was in the house.
There I stood, tears falling from my eyes, no bird to bury, a green ribbon in my hand. But the words on the ribbon stood out to me as never before: "Who you are makes a difference." It made me feel like God intended this message for me.