My Word of the Week: Revelation

rev·e·la·tion – noun \ˌre-və-ˈlā-shən\

: a usually secret or surprising fact that is made known
: an act of making something known
: an act of revealing something in usually a surprising way
: something that surprises you

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Recently, I’ve been intrigued by birds.

It started when my dad gave me two birdhouse gourds that I drilled and painted and hung as, well, you guessed it: birdhouses. Then, when two house wrens showed up a few days later and started making themselves at home, I became a bird stalker. That might be why I haven’t seen them lately.

But after the house wrens, I started noticing other birds. The red-breasted robins that fly around our backyard and often land in the grass to eat worms. The bright yellow finches that flew along with us across County Road 100 as we drove for dinner out in Lafayette. And the large black crows perched on power lines as I run past the highway department.

Last week, though, I was greatly distressed to see a vivid red cardinal sitting atop the tomato cage in my garden, head down in the plant pecking away.  I know there are tomatoes there. I walk around the garden several times a week, pushing back leaves and branches to see the soft green fruit. For months now, I’ve anticipated the juicy ripeness of an Early Girl or Big Boy. I’ve already enjoyed a few firm Sweet 100 Cherry tomatoes. And now, this cardinal threatens the whole thing.

I hopped up from the couch, headed to the window, and began knocking wildly. The cardinal barely noticed, head down determinedly. When I finally got his attention (“his” because the red was so bright), he pulled back his head and flew off as I had hoped. But as he went, I noticed a fat, green tomato worm hanging from his beak.

“He has a worm!” I announced to my husband. “He was helping us, and I scared him away.”

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And there it was, a reminder that things are rarely how they appear. Even our deepest realities are shrouded in this mystery: “sometimes God seems to be killing us when actually he’s saving us.” (Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods)

The next day, I couldn’t help but check the tomatoes. None had horrible peck marks as I originally had feared; none had fallen victim to the bright red bird, except for his kindness in snatching the worm. I wait for him to return, though my over-reaction that day will likely keep him away.

But in other ways, I try to see differently, to wait patiently for the revelation of what I cannot even imagine.

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WORD COUNT: 399

Photo by John Flannery, via Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License. Definitions of my word of the week are from Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online.

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Charity Singleton Craig

Charity Singleton Craig is a writer, author, and speaker, helping readers grow in their faith and experience true hope in the middle of life’s joys and sorrows. She is the author of My Year in Words: what I learned from choosing one word a week for one year and coauthor of On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life That Lasts.


  • Sherrey Meyer ,

    We humans have such a knack for getting it all wrong sometimes. Great story to show and remind us of this flaw we carry around with us.

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      Charity Singleton Craig ,

      Thanks, Sherrey. If only I could remember to look at all people and circumstances with the humility of knowing I don’t have the whole story. I would be a much more gracious person, I believe.

    • Dolly@Soulstops ,

      Oh, Charity… so true…and that quote from Tim Keller…yes, so very true…I hope your cardinal comes back…great post 🙂

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        Charity Singleton Craig ,

        Thanks, Dolly. I hope so, too. I still haven’t seen him, yet there still are no worms. I think he does his work under the cover of darkness so I won’t bang the window at him again!

      • Diana Trautwein ,

        What a great picture of how wrong we can sometimes be! Who knew?

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          Charity Singleton Craig ,

          I am still holding onto hope that the cardinal will come back. He may be coming when I am not watching, because so far, no more worms!