Signs and Symbols

The Guideposts executive editor shares the tell tale sign that God is present.

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There are always things you see at a hospital that take you by surprise. I was getting just one more test before surgery—feeling more poked at than a melon in a supermarket—and there I was lying down on a bed in an office. I looked across the room and saw a calendar on the wall, a religious calendar of some sort. 

I stared at the picture, a classic painting of a dove descending, rays emanating from its white wings, the light falling on a group of apostles. “That’s a picture of Pentecost,” I thought to myself. “They must have the wrong month. We’re in the middle of Lent. Pentecost comes after Easter.” Wouldn’t a picture for Lent show Christ out in wilderness, tempted by the devil?

“Is the month right for that calendar?” I asked the nurse who was hooking me up to some machine.

“It says March,” she said. “Now close your eyes for a minute…”

I closed my eyes, continuing my argument with the calendar. Then I thought of the dove and how it’s always been a symbol of the Holy Spirit, ever since it appeared above Jesus at his baptism…or maybe earlier than that, when the dove brought Noah an olive branch as a sign that the flood waters were receding. The dove, a perfect sign that God was present.

Maybe it was just the right picture, those warming rays leaping out of that picture and coming to me, ready to remind me where I could find comfort. “Okay, Mr. Hamlin,” the nurse said. I was ready.

The surgery went fine and I’m fine, grateful for great surgeons and good nurses and modern medicine…and someone’s calendar in the corner of an office. 

Rick Hamlin is the executive editor at GUIDEPOSTS.


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