In 2008 when I choose to leave the secure and high paying job I had, in order to create a shift in my life, I did so for two reasons. First, I wanted to find my true path and fulfill my life purpose. I did believe it was there for me, I just had to find it. Also my mother died, and that had me realize our time is short, and our lives are precious, so I wanted to see how I could live in a way that made a difference for others, and myself. That was pretty much not happening on the job.
After she had her heart attack in 2000 and was getting ready for her bypass six weeks later, I was confronted with the decision of whether to go on the trip my husband and I had planned to Iran at the same time, in April. I had missed meeting my husbands father before he died, and felt I really should go.
Mom of course said ‘go!, I have lots of people here with me’, speaking of the family who were close by. So we went, and not sure as to the outcome, as her doc had said her case was ‘not uncomplicated’, I made plans to have prayers for her in Iran at the time of her surgery. My mother in law took me to her Mosque, to the women’s side, and there was a group of three young female Muslim acolytes who agreed to offer the prayers for us.
My experience was of sitting on the ground, and looking up at the young woman singing the prayers for mom, she had a beautiful voice, raised her hands and face to the sky and was moved to tears by the prayers she was offering, as was I – it didn’t matter I couldn’t understand a word, coming half way around the world and having someone with such a huge heart ask God to look after mom was very moving.
My mom btw spent the six weeks between the heart attack and the surgery sitting and praying – and her story is that during surgery they found none of the aneurysm they had seen, did not have to replace the valve as they had planned- it was just a straight forward bypass – if that can be said, and her bypass gave her another eight years.
As is the tradition in Iran, one offers something in exchange for the prayers, and so my offer was to adopt a child. It was not, by the way, a deal with God, it was something I had had in mind for many years, and I made the commitment then. When we came overseas in 2007 for work and I knew I might not see mom alive again, and so honoring that commitment became much more important to me, as a way to honor her and affirm her love, generosity and faith. We started the process in April of 2008 , in the 2-3 weeks before she died, and by the one year anniversary of her death our new daughter was waiting for us to collect her.
So why Birds of Heaven? Many reasons, but this is one; my mother loved birds, and spent hours watching them. There was a pair of majestic Cranes who used to come to her field at the farmhouse who she loved like old friends, and I got to spend some time with them last year in the October rain when I was out in the garden composting. I too was one of her birds.