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A Different Gift

Two weeks ago, my writing group held their annual writing retreat. It’s a getaway I look forward to every year. The cottage is right on the beach and I walk the sandy shores in the early morning and again later in the day. 

Each retreat, I look for stones, especially heart shaped stones, because in years past, they were a message to me from God. Hearts are our thing. 

Tuesday morning, I searched the ground but nothing jumped out at me. No heart shapes. Instead, I found feathers, which ironically did mean something to me after watching a movie the night before; in the story feathers represented both a greeting and a gift for the protagonist. As my feet tread on the wet sand, I noticed the perfect white feather from a seagull but I continued walking because it wasn’t a heart shaped stone. That didn’t stop the feather from calling out to me. I turned back. 

“It’s not a stone, Lord.” I said skeptically. 

An answer popped into my head. “No, it’s something different. I don’t have to give the same gift, in the same way, every time. I’m giving you something else but it’s no less special than a heart-shaped stone.”

Was I willing to accept a feather instead of a stone? A different yet equally precious gift?


I picked up the feather and tucked it in my pocket. As I did so, a sense of freedom washed over me as the box I’d constructed for God broke apart. He created us, individuals and unique, why would he give the same gift over and over again? He doesn’t which makes my heart sing. I love getting gifts but I don’t want the same thing again and again.

I have no idea what the feather means but I’m curious, excited, and anticipating new things, new adventures. How about you? Is there a feather you’ve wandered by while looking for the heart-shaped stone?