I was sitting alone on the back patio swing the other night, kind of in a restless mood. Our daughter’s wedding is over, the out-of-town family and accompanying fun and activity have left, and even our North Carolina grandkids who stayed for an extra week beyond the others and shared their love and laughter were gone. No more hurried trips to the grocery store for fruit snacks or an extra gallon of orange juice; no more early philosophizing with 8-year-old Caroline on this very swing, while she ate her four French toast sticks and two sausages every morning.

School is back in session and the locusts are screaming even in the daytime now. My favorite time of the year is just around the corner. But I’m restless with the in-betweens and what-nexts.

I heard them before they appeared on the horizon. A large flock of geese was flying in perfect formation, honking for all they were worth, low enough that I could actually hear the rush of their wings as they pulsed toward their future. And I smiled.

God sent me geese in response to my doldrums.

Of course He did.

I learned years ago at a work conference, of all places, that geese are remarkable creatures; loyal, friendly, and caring beyond comprehension, mating for life and raising their families together.

They fly in formation for a reason, the geese in front bearing the hardest wind resistance, the ones in back honking their support and encouragement. When the goose at the apex tires, it simply moves around to the back and the others rush forward to keep the formation intact. Flying together lessens wind resistance and increases air flow. And if one of the geese is injured or becomes too sick to fly and has to fly to the ground for a time, one or two of the fellow geese accompany the fallen one and stay with her until she is able to regain flight or dies. Only then will they try to regain their flock or maybe join another.

God sent me geese to raise my head heavenward, to make me smile in awe and listen to His message of camaraderie, of togetherness, of hope and drive and promise for the future.

It’s OK to take these moments to just sit, to appreciate the quiet and calm we’ve worked so hard the past few weeks to accomplish, to take time to remember the fun, the beauty of the pieces all fitting together so beautifully. That is what life is all about.

I’ve just flown to the back of the formation for a spell, enjoying my turn to help support all those around me. Time to move forward again soon enough. There’s a nephew’s wedding right around the corner, a bridal shower to enjoy and family to hug and revel in as we fly toward the next horizon. Together, because together is always better.

God gave me geese that day for a reason. I’m certain of it, and so very grateful for it.

Vicki Bahr

I'm a mother of four, grandmother of seven, wife of John for forty five years and incurable optimist, word lover, and story sharer. I've worked and played at many careers, from proofreader to preschool teacher, human interest newspaper columnist to medical records clerk. Each path has afforded me the opportunity to appreciate the warmth of humanity and to hopefully spread a lifetime of smiles, empathy, and God's inspiration along the way. My life continues to be one of delight. With experience comes understanding, with understanding comes peace.