Last October Jessica was at the end of “nesting” her birds so she wasn’t too busy to get to know one of the last baby birds in the nest, named Reformanda. Jessica spent a good deal of time with him since he was a loner and didn’t have a nest mate. She would hold him and walk around with him all over the yard as well as in the loft. As he got older he would fly to her, land on her head, arms, shoulders and even walk up and onto her hand, if presented, and ate there too while all the other birds pecked away at the food in their trough.
Summer time now has begun and so has the training of Jessica’s white homing pigeons. About a week ago I drove Jessica to a church parking lot to do a release. This particular release was with her adult birds, 15 of them, who flew some training distances last year. Jess was pretty sure they could handle the 5 mile flight home. Reformanda was among the 15. Reformanda and 5 other birds did not return the day of the release. On the second evening Jessica had just fed her birds, and was sitting out on a lawn chair looking doubtfully up in the sky for her beloved doves when she noticed a peculiar cloud up in the sky. To her great wonder, she saw it was a spitting image of a flying dove! She felt a strange tingly sensation come over her, and was immediately filled with a desire to know what had happened to her lost doves. She then prayed that God would reveal His purpose for her seemingly unaccountable loss.
We all kept an eye out for the the missing birds the next day and the next, but then stopped expecting them.
Discouraged, Jessica began her research again to find out why she was not able to get past this difficult training that she must do with her birds. She did indeed find a decent source of information and is getting back up on her horse after some much needed encouragement. But encouragement comes in all forms now doesn’t it?
Six days after this release we got a message on our phone. As we listened to the woman, we found out she had spent the afternoon with one of Jessica’s lost birds, we were all moved to tears. Jessica’s birds are all banded, so that way if they do get lost, then someone who finds them can immediately contact us. This woman saw the band, got on the internet and found our name and number. After going out to the deck where Reformanda was walking around she found that he was very tame and ended up holding him. She gave Reformanda seeds and pieces of bread as he walked all over her lap, just like he does with Jessica, he also took a nice long drink of water. Then he trustingly fell asleep in the woman’s arms. WOW!
The woman told us that her daughter had died 8 years ago. As she enjoying the bird’s snooze she was thinking of the Holy Spirit coming in the form of a dove. She felt sure that some spiritual power was visiting her as she got to have this experience, which ended with a sense of gratitude and concern for the sweet and gentile dove. Unfortunately they let Reformanda fly away for the evening thinking maybe he would go home, he wasn’t around the next day and hasn’t come home here either. It saddens us all to know that this special bird is flying around looking for his home but most likely won’t be able to make the distance, because, you see, this woman lives about 30 miles from us!
Clancy, Jessica’s dad, said something so touching….
“Jess, you prepared that bird for something special with all the attention you gave him. You asked me, last week, ‘ Why has God allowed me to experience these losses so often? And why am I not able to be successful with the training?’ Now you know why you had to lose this bird…he had a purpose elsewhere.”
Release training will begin again soon and I am sure Jessica will approach it with a different song in her heart, knowing now that perhaps if she loses a dove or two more, God will make sure to send the lovely creature on some important errand sooner or later. It has always been her prayer that her doves would be able to impact people in a powerful and uplifting way. And at last that prayer has been answered! Something even more beautiful than she ever had dared to hope for.
As a family we often ask “to what end?” … To this end!