The Doves Are Watching

Today I thought it would be entertaining to talk about the assumptions we made as kids. My story has strong religious tones because Christianity was such an integral part of my first two decades of life. Feel free to share stories on any topic, though!

Growing up I was taught that doves were a symbol of the holy spirit. For years I wasn’t exactly sure what a dove looked like in real life. All of the pictures I’d seen of them were fairly stylized and we never lived in areas with high pigeon or dove populations.

Somehow the idea that the holy spirit was symbolized by a dove morphed into a private conviction that the holy spirit occasionally appeared in the form of a dove to see what us humans were doing. Using kid-logic I inferred that the holy spirit probably reported back what she had seen to God and that one should therefore be on his or her best behaviour whenever one of these creatures turned up.

One day I noticed an elegant little bird sitting by the side of a road.

“What type of bird is that?” I asked.

“A dove,” one of my parents said. I was in awe. God was watching us! For the rest of the day I tried to be on my best behaviour in the hope that a good report would soar back to heaven.

I kept this belief tucked away in the back of my mind for an embarrassing number of years. It wasn’t orthodox theology but it made far more sense to me than some of the official teachings.


What misconceptions about the world did you have as a child? What was your reaction when you learned the truth?


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5 Responses to The Doves Are Watching

  1. One of the biggest misconceptions I had as a child was believing all the equality stuff in the US Constitution.  I always thought that, if the founders had gone to all that trouble to write specific things down, then they must have meant them literally.  By high school, I slowly began to realize that most of that stuff was nothing more than rhetoric!  Equality was parsed out in different ways depending on who or what each person is.  I discovered that if an individual is black, American Indian, Latino, gay, poor, hippie, anti-war or a non-conformist, equality was a word without much substantive meaning.

  2. Since I believe in the power of coincidence… lured into this post by the Dove 🙂

    I’m a mothertongue (Dutch) teacher @ Maria Assumpta Lyceum  Brussels, Belgium. Years ago,  after one of my teachings, i took a break for a stroll outside school. Now I noticed a Dove, nesting in one of the letters of our school’s logo  (19 in all) on the schoolbuilding’s wall (they are huge, each one of them more than 50cm). She nested in the Y. I watched her, and suddenly she flew away, only to come back immediately and sit down on another letter, this went on for some ten minutes, each time she ‘landed’ on another letter. Hey, i thought, does She want to show/tell me something?… Well: here is the combination of the letters she landed on, in the order she visited: T E M P U S S U M… Now in Latin, this means: I am time..! This was very powerful, and i never forgot. Holy Spirit indeed, Ave Maria ! Ps: and no coincidence either she nested in the Y (think of dna/peace symbol and so on 😉

    Namaste, Ave, Pax Tibi,Rombout

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