By: Ginny Luedeman
April 2005
CS Journal

A few years ago, my parents gave us a wonderful Christmas gift. It’s an electric gate mechanism. Now, when the end of the driveway nears, I don’t have to get out of the car to open and close the gate. I joke that it’s the only Christmas gift I can open over and over again. And in the rainy Oregon weather, it couldn’t be more perfect.
One day recently, though, the fog was mental, not atmospheric. I was fighting a feeling of drabness with an attempt at gratitude--looking for even the most minute examples of God’s goodness to lift me out of the gloom. But the grayness pressed close, and I needed comfort.
As a parent, I’m well attuned to those times when my kids just need a hug. And I’m always willing to drop whatever I’m doing and offer one--as long and strong as they need it to be. There’s nothing like the palpable reassurance that says, “You’re loved and cared for.”
In my own times of need, I’ve learned I can turn to my divine Parent Love, for the same kind of embrace. So, heading down the driveway on my way to get groceries that gloomy day, I asked God for one of Her comforting messages--for a diving “hug,” as it were.
The end of the driveway neared, with its tall deodar cedars arching my exit. And it was then, as I reached to push the button on the mechanism, that I spotted him. A huge hawk sitting right in the middle of the two gates. Here in Oregon, we see hawks all the time, but never up close. They’re very skittish.
This big guy, however, was only about eight feet away. Just sitting there. An image of power and grace. And he was staring right at me.
After a few awe-inspired minutes, I had to get going, so I pushed the button to open the gate. But instead of flying off as I’d expected, the hawk turned around and remained on the gate, riding it until he was right next to my window. Even then he stayed. Perched and still--and staring straight at me.
Our gazes locked. And though it was a strange feeling to be eye-to-eye with this wild bird, I suddenly got it.
This was my hug. This awesome encounter, this closeness with the beauty and majesty of nature, this shared moment that said “You are not alone” was my hug. I heard it loud and clear. “I love you,” the message reminded me.
And then, just as dramatically as this powerful messenger had come into my life, he left, turning his back on me to walk the six feet or so to the other end of the gate. Then, launching himself, he flew up into the air and was gone.
I was lifted, too. All day the joy of awe stayed with me. The beauty of life was everywhere again. I felt it, too--not the fog, now, but Love, which makes itself known in the most unexpected and profound ways.
I’m still learning to look for hugs all around me. Because even when we least expect it, the power and presence of grace is there to welcome everyone into the comforting arms of Love.

“Copyright©2004 The Christian Science Publishing Society, All rights reserved, reproduced with permission”.


Ginny Luedeman


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