“Mary! Mary!” I screamed eagerly as I pushed the front door open a little further and glanced into the living room. The shrill sound of my voice caused my sister-in-law to run across the hardwood floor towards me. My animated cries had disturbed her. A look of anxiety began to crease her pretty face. At first, I didn’t say anything more to her. I wanted the moment to be a surprise, but I didn’t want Mary to worry. So now, I smiled and said, “You have to see this! Come on!” I stepped back onto the porch as Mary followed me outside. As she stood beside me, I started to babble eagerly. “I just came outside to get something out of my car,” I told her as I gently pulled her over to the first step off the porch. “And I stepped over here, looked up…” I paused now for dramatic effect before I said, “And I saw that!” I pointed down the street and up into the sky.
“Oh, my gosh,” Mary whispered as the anxious look on her face now transformed into a look of pure grace.
“I know,” I whispered. “Isn’t it amazing?!” And then we both stood quietly for a moment and contemplated the sight in front of us as we wrapped an arm around each other.
A few minutes earlier, when I had walked out of the house, I had stepped down off the porch, turned, and found myself staring at a large cloud. That was it. That’s all it was. Just a cloud…and, of course, I have seen an endless number of clouds over all the years of my life. But this one was very different. This cloud was huge; it had to have been several hundred feet tall from the ground up. Yes, from the ground up! The cloud wasn’t up in the sky. The base of it looked as if it was sitting down on the earth. In fact, it appeared as if the cloud had come to rest at the end of our residential street and then fluffed up into the air like a giant mushroom. The cloud was pure, new-snow white as it shined like candle wax against the dusky evening sky. But there was another aspect about the natural wonder that had me intrigued. At the very top of the cloud that soared up over the steeple of the small Lutheran church at the end of the street was an image of a heavenly being. Within the fluffy folds of the cloud, I could see the full, feathery wings and the haloed head of an angel.
As my sister-in-law and I stared at the cloud, we both caught our breath as a golden light suddenly shined out from the cloud. Though the dusky evening sky was clear, an electrical storm was taking place in the center of the cloud. The sudden bright lightening contained within the cloud caused the angel to glow internally with a spiritual light.
After a few minutes, my sister-in-law walked back into the house. I stayed outside on the steps for a few awhile as I stared at the cloud and watched the miraculous lightening strikes in quiet contemplation. Over the next couple of minutes, the cloud slowly began to collapse and sink within itself. But even though the cloud eventually dissolved into the darkening night sky I still continued to feel blessed and at peace. I believed I had witnessed a heavenly phenomenon. And I knew I would always carry within me the hope and glory of the golden angel cloud even when I am experiencing my own days of collapsing into darkness.