My speedy recovery from a hysterectomy that October was darkened by the tricks of a hormone monster. I was destined to a zig-zag pattern of one good day, one off day. On the off days, I was a basket case. I couldn't think, organize, follow through, work, direct children, or butter bread. The hot flashes were undeniable. While the doctor was regulating my hormone dosage, I had to deal with the ups and downs.
Before long, the roller coaster ride swooped into Columbus Day, meaning the kids were home from school. My children, ages 1, 6 and 8, at the time, had no idea that this day off was falling on one of my "off days." Trying to make up for lost time from work and volunteer responsibilities, the housekeeping and children had taken everything out of me by 1 P.M. At some point, between the bickering, the diaper changes, the lunch mess, and the telephone ringing, I escaped onto the back deck for some peace.
The deck was barren in preparation for winter. The woods facing me were stripped of their leaves as was the autumn sky of the sun. A hint of chill reminded me of the cold season yet to arrive. How fitting, I thought, to be on the same cycle as mother nature.
Doom and gloom.
Behind my observations and thoughts, I could hear the kids screaming and fighting, and I could see through the lighted windows at the mess they were making in the family room. I knew I needed to help them find something more constructive to do, but at that moment, all I could do was cry. I hadn't the energy to deal with three kids or anything else. I instinctively fell into prayer.
"Dear God, I can't function today. Please give me a sign that you're listening, that you'll help me. I can't do this alone..."
Interrupting my prayer, the sounds of a very focused flock of geese roared over the house. The glorious honking grew closer and louder by the second. Before long, the entire "V" appeared so close above me, I was sure if I stood on tip toes I could touch them. They were low and loud and had just missed the tips of the trees when one of them flew out of the formation, landing in the woods. Quickly, two others followed, and the rest filled in the empty spaces and flew on, rising higher and higher until they disappeared.
Just weeks earlier, I had read that geese fly in a "V" formation--that it takes the whole team to make it to their destination. When the "lead bird" tires out, it falls to the back of the formation and another takes over. When one falls ill or can no longer fly, it flutters to the ground. With it, two more leave the formation to sit by the sick one, protecting it while it heals or dies. Once able, the birds take flight again.
Because they feel the strain of flying without the group, they often find a new group with which to fly. I remember reading that it's easier for them to get where they're going when they're traveling on the thrust of another. The geese flying out of formation feel the drag and resistance oftrying to go it alone. I read, too, that geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
Then it struck me.
Maybe they were honking for me. Maybe I need support right now and someone to watch over me until I can fly again. Maybe I need to fall out of formation and rest. Maybe I don't need to be so strong, so soon. Maybe I'm not ready for the long "flight."
That's when things started to "look up."
I knew it was time to go back inside, give my kids some attention, wait for my husband to get home from work to help, and rest. I knew all this because of a sign from above and a flock of geese reminding me that traveling on the thrust of another is easier than going it alone.