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Thirty feet up in the naked Blackjack, the cardinal easily attracts attention in his spring finery of crimson, perched there among the gray-brown branches.

At the first hint of sunrise, his song begins. Trilling notes pour out over and over again, in hopeful yearning.  Ten minutes into the serenade, his melody changes with new tempo, the tone and pace ringing with insistence, his solo performance entreating for response. After the refrain, he returns to his original ballad, the one aching for an answer.

For hours, the redbird calls out, imploring, wanting, desiring. His confident hymns of proposal continue throughout the day.  He stops briefly to replenish his strength, nibbling on sunflower seeds at the feeder.  All the while, he remains vigilant, watching the nearby branches for the only one who can fulfill his bidding.

As time passes, I begin to feel melancholy for him when his efforts receive no reward.  How can the waiting be endured?  How long must a spirit offer devoted affection and faithful companionship, promise a heart full of love…only to have the tender overtures be disregarded?

Evening arrives and the bird retreats into silence.

I wonder… will the lonely heart despair in the darkness, or will hope remain when morning light appears?

I pray to hear the song at dawn.

As the events of holy week unfold, may God’s loving presence continue to accompany us through the darkness of the tomb and carry us into the light that is promised to follow. Amen