The other day, as I pulled out of our garage, I saw tiny wings flapping out of the corner of my eye. Gorgeous orange wings. I stopped the car, got out and stood still in our front yard for several minutes, watching this stunning monarch feast on flowers, then swoop up into the air and dance around my head. You’re a messenger, I thought. Bringing good news, I hoped. My heart swelled, my eyes watered, my pulse quickened.  I quietly thanked her for coming, holding back tears as I climbed back into the car where my boys were waiting for me.

I wanted so badly to believe she came for a reason – to symbolize positive change, to deliver hope on a wing and a prayer. But I worried it was all in my head, merely wishful thinking. Despite trying like crazy to stay positive, I was anxious about my dad’s fourth surgery in four weeks – one more attempt to reveal and relieve the cause of his skyrocketing billirubin levels {a concern for anyone, but especially for someone in cancer treatment}. Since his diagnosis a year ago, he’d remained so strong and upbeat despite his ever-changing treatment plan. And we, his family, have followed suit – remaining positive, envisioning miraculous healing, keeping the faith. Then, out of the blue, complications arose. And after three surgeries in a row did nothing to help my dad feel better {but, rather, made him feel worse}, I have to admit I started to worry. I got anxious. I got frustrated. I cried big crocodile tears.

When that butterfly showed up, something changed. I felt a weight lift off my shoulders as she danced around me, gliding through the air on tissue-paper-thin wings, reminding me anything is possible. And I held that image of her close to my heart yesterday, as my dad faced surgery yet again.

Once he was in the operating room, I grabbed a quick lunch with my mom and brother in the hospital’s 8th floor cafeteria. We sat at a table by the windows, doing our best to think good thoughts and feel the love being sent our way by family and friends. And then magic happened: three bald eagles flew past our window, doing their own dance in mid-air, swooping and gliding and taking our breath away. And the show continued as a lone butterfly – eight stories up, mind you – fluttered past, promptly followed by a dragonfly. We laughed out loud, completely floored by the divine parade of symbolic, spiritual creatures.

Shortly after we returned to the waiting room, the surgeon arrived with amazing news: to his own surprise, he’d been able to clear previously undetected blockage and infection in my dad’s liver. The doctor admitted he’d gone into the surgery feeling pessimistic, but emerged feeling like it couldn’t have gone any better. My heart swelled, my eyes watered, my pulse quickened. New hope had arrived, delivered on a wing and a prayer. Actually, a bunch of wings and a bunch of prayers. I’m so grateful for and amazed by them all.