There is an old wive’s tale about getting a visit at your bird feeder from a cardinal. It’s supposed to be a good omen. Some people believe it’s a visit from a loved one in heaven. Others believe it’s a sign that good fortune is going to come your way. Where I live, I get several cardinals at my bird feeder every single day. They’re beautiful birds, indeed. And yes, I know a lot of people in heaven. Whether they’re visiting every day, I can’t say for certain. I do know the cardinals love the birdseed I put out. And their bright spark of red always catches my eye.
It’s been a week since I last heard from the recruiter for the job I was pursuing. I had thought I was going to get an invitation for the next round of interviews, which would have meant a day-flight to another state. Instead I was told another last-minute candidate had been added. Supposedly that interview was to have taken place on Tuesday and a decision was going to be made yesterday. No news today.
It’s such a challenge for me to sink my heart and soul into an interview, see myself in the job, and then sit and wait only to find out I came in as Number 2. “Always a bride’s maid, never a bride.” No one ever remembers who comes in second in a race, in an election, any time. And I’ve been trying to figure out what I need to do to get myself in First Place. Granted, I haven’t been told I’m out of the running for this job…yet.
On the same day that I was told another candidate was being considered, I heard from a recruiter for another job I applied for a couple of weeks ago. We scheduled a phone interview for earlier this week. So I left work early on Monday to take the call and it went well, I thought. I was told it would be a week before the next round of interviews would be scheduled, so I was quite surprised when I received an email the next day from the hiring manager asking to arrange a phone interview with him.
So today I left work for an early lunch. I drove my car about a mile down the road and parked in the lot for a doctor’s clinic. It was a warm day, so I parked at the far end of the lot under a tree in a shaded spot. I had about 15 minutes to myself before the expected call, so I went through my notes and tried to imagine the questions I might be asked. Suddenly, I got hit by a wave of nervousness and I started hyperventilating. Why in the world would I be nervous? Why today? Why this interview? I tried to calm myself by taking slow, deep breaths. I pulled from old and dusty files in my brain some lessons learned to control breathing (for moms in labor). I put down my notes and looked out the window of my car, and there it was. A flash of red. Right in front of my eyes, sitting on a branch, as if on display only for me. Immediately the old wive’s tale came to mind. And instantly I felt a wave of peace pass over me. My breathing returned to normal. I knew I would be just fine. I even smiled at the bird. He stayed for a minute or so, then flew on his way.
The phone call came and I had a fantastic interview. It was only supposed to be a half hour long, but it ended up lasting an hour. At the end of the call, the hiring manager asked if I would be available to come in for a two-hour interview early next week to meet with him and his team. Absolutely! And in that moment I understood why it was that two months ago I had the courage to insist that my boss let me (finally) have a week’s vacation next week. Two months ago I chose next week for some much needed time off. And today I chose a spot under a tree in the midst of the paved jungle of the city to have a phone call. And I got a visit from a cardinal.
The rest is up to your imagination. I know what I’m going to imagine.