Hey, Mom and Dad? Now don't get mad but…I got a tattoo.
I know. I know. I know. I'm too old for this and it's permanent and I didn't even get it in a truly hidden place. It's on my leg and I can't erase it. It was a gift and it actually reminds me of other gifts. So bare with me as I share the meaning-and it really means a whole lot if you see the bigger picture…
These past few years have been an absolute hell for too many reasons-so many reasons. I have been angry a lot-angry at life and the way everything seems to be turning out and challenging me at every turn, angry that there is this amount of hurt in one woman's life and angry at God. I felt like he had taken his eyes off me to allow me to go through the tragedies I have had to endure. I even said it out loud one day when I was watching the sparrows flit around the patio at the group home. Sitting there in the midst of a heart break, I whispered those words out loud, "Your eye is on the sparrow God, but surely you have taken them off me. You have forgotten me."
And then God decided to surprise me and show me otherwise.
I am not sure exactly when it started. I only know when I noticed and decided something strange was going on. I noticed sparrows suddenly everywhere when I had not noticed them before. Last summer, sitting on my steps, gazing at my asphalt garden I noticed hundreds of sparrows in the parking lot making weird formations. They flew from wire, to building and then to the top of my car. Back and forth and back and forth and it was one of the oddest things I had ever seen. I thought it was isolated. It wasn't.
Even the girls commented on the strangeness when we sat on those rusted metal steps on and off all this summer and fall. As long as we sat there, the sparrows were there and they were constantly swarming where there are no trees or grass or bushes.
One night, I was taking my youngest daughter to a friend's. We got in the car and something flew past her head tangling in her hair and then into the back of the station wagon. She screamed in near hysteria thinking it was a bat. I opened the hatch and to my surprise a sparrow flew out.
At the group home, the sparrows suddenly seemed to swarm the bushes and patio. Yes, we feed the birds there. We have always fed the birds and wild life. But the sparrows gathered in droves and would roll in the dirt and burrow. In all the years I have been there, there never has been such an abundance of them. The client's would laugh and laugh but I began to think that maybe someone was trying to tell me something.
A few days after the sparrow got in my car, I was sitting in the car with my cousin. I was telling her about the odd sparrow incidents. I laughed kind of half-heartedly but I finally admitted, "You know, I keep thinking all these sparrows hanging around have something to do with me. I kept telling God he took his eyes off me."
Suddenly, I noticed a sparrow sitting in a bush nearby. It appeared to be looking right at me. Again I laughed and said, "I must be nuts because I swear that damn bird is staring right at me…"
My cousin said, "Monika, it is. That is freaky!"
Just then, that little sparrow hopped off the branch of the bush, and hopped over to my car and then tried to fly in the car window where I was sitting. I got the window up before it got inside.
I shouted out then, "Okay! Okay already! You're looking at me. I get it!" and I did get it. I do get it.
His eye is on the sparrow; surely his eye is on me. It's a permanent situation-like my tattoo.
I won't ever forget that again.
Monika M. Basile