noticing God at the grave
It was a dreary day.
The northern Victorian sky disclosed more of a winter tale than it did a spring sonnet - a song which would have made more sense when composed in an Australian September.
But the cool air and heavy clouds confessed the mood of the sombre, umbrella-carrying crowd who gathered at the local cemetery - anticipating the rain to fall at any moment.
As a family of falcons danced in the air at a distance, the motorcade pulled up behind the hearse, and a grieving widow made her way to the graveside accompanied by her six children.
"Where can God be found here?"
Almost as if on cue, a lone falcon breaks ranks from the cast and hovers just metres over this family - as if God Himself was watching over them in their grief - palpably present through a minuscule, yet majestic, agent of His creation.
Those who noticed the solitary bird were prompted towards hope as they stood in support of the family in their loss. If they could breathe deeply enough they would encounter a resounding peace - found through a gentle tear, a heaving sob, and a determined embrace.
After the Pastor shared some heart-felt words, each family member released a balloon into the dark sky - symbolising their surrender to their new reality - a reality of life without their beloved husband and father being with them.
The pain of aloneness hung as heavily as the dark clouds for moments that seemed like forever, until a family friend ushered his way through the crowd and held them - embracing each one individually, deliberately and compassionately. It was almost as if God Himself had broken through the crowd to hold them... and hold them.
Respects were then paid as people filed past the casket. The crowd were dismissed with unopened umbrellas still in hand. Not a single drop of rain had fallen - as if God Himself had something to do with it.