In April 2002, I sitting in this cavernous waiting room at King’s Cross in London, England. I was waiting for a bus to Cambridge, UK. I sat all alone, and stared at the tiled floor at my feet. The doctors had warned me not to travel alone, but I had disregarded their restrictions. I was taking several psych meds and felt somewhat stronger than I had in months.
As I sat there, within my field of vision, came several pigeons. They were thriving on bread thrown out to them. Several very large windows were open, and these pigeons seem to have no fear as they took advantage of a meal from bored travellers. I remember their audacity and resourcefulness as they came up just a couple of feet from my chair.
Depression had followed me like an old friend all the way to England. I was completely drained and quite confused. I was crying out to the Lord, very desperately. All of a sudden, a pigeon came across the floor and “presented” himself, right square in front of me. I was amazed that he was crippled, one of his feet was a twisted claw. He had been injured in such a way that he would never be the same. He was damaged, and somehow he survived.
It was like receiving a lightning bolt. I understood for the first time in a long time, the Father’s love and care over me. I saw the pigeon, and I saw myself. It was a tremendous moment of a reassuring grace. In the hustle of people in London, in the midst of my mental illness I knew God’s caring touch. A grace much greater than all my sin and confusion.
I found myself walking the streets of a busy Cambridge. I was all by myself, and I had gotten hopelessly lost. I was terribly manic, and my meds just couldn’t keep the lid on. I was talking out loud to myself, disheveled and throughly confused. I just kept wandering and talking. I desperately needed psychiatric shelter. But I was all alone.
I kept walking past the many universities, and churches. They were very beautiful, but I was lost. I then remembered the damaged pigeon, completely oblivious to self pity. I started to call out to the Father out of my confusion. Within minutes I was in a double decker bus, with the driver aware of my problems who specifically guided me to the place I was staying. I was being cared for.
I have come to realize that this trip to England was not for me to see Big Ben, Parliament or wander the academic centers of Cambridge University. Rather I was brought there to meet a certain pigeon, who was waiting to meet me. He shared things that I need to know. The history and landmarks were nice, but I’ve forgotten much. But all I needed was somehow given.
P.S. Two things:
- Don’t travel alone.
- Never call pigeons, “rats, with wings.”