When I looked at the clouds with my heart
When we look at the ocean with the naked eye we see little more than the surface. Sure, gulls dive for something, and fins and splashes breaking the surface hint at the teeming life occupying its fathomless depths. But, pretty much, there’s nothing to see but the surface.
So what if we look at the clouds? What might they be the surface of? As my mother’s death colored the canvas of my life with tragedy, I was moved to look at the clouds with my heart. This is what I saw.
“What do you want for your mother?” God asked as I drove towards the office. There was no voice, no need to call the doctor, the question came to me more as an emotion. But I knew it was God and I knew that was what he was asking me.
My mother had first been diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis twenty years previous. It is a debilitating disease that attacks and wears down all the muscles in the body. You’re several times more likely to win the National Lottery than you are to catch this extremely rare disease. But my mother had caught it and was now fighting its final assault.
As different parts of her body failed, more medication was introduced to combat the effects. Then more still to combat the side effects of the new medication. My daughters, now adults, couldn’t remember my mother ever not being on crutches. Now she was also on steroids. She was full of fluids, in constant pain, and barely able to move.
I had just finished my morning prayers so I decided to consider the question and answer as though I was talking to a person with the power to actually change anything.
“I want my mum to be great again,” I said to myself in the car. God was listening. “I want her to be pretty and powerful like I remember her. I want to feel her embrace and the power of her love and know that she can do anything! I want her to walk in the mountains and to swim in the sea like she always loved doing. I want her to smile because she can’t help it like she used to make me do all the time.”
God was smiling. Don’t ask me how I knew. And then he answered. “That’s easy,” he said. “All of that was promised before she was born. Had you forgotten that?”
I never wanted my mother to die. But at least from that moment until she passed away some months later, I knew she was going on to something amazing.
Just as the light of a star shines on in the night sky long after it’s gone, my mother continues to touch my heart. I feel her passion and her spirit in a sea breeze or crashing waves. I feel her love and protection in every sunset and I hear her in the Classical Music she loved so much. She lives on in the memories I treasure in my head and the love I hold in my heart and she will never be dead to me.
I can’t prove that God spoke to me that day and I can’t see that his promise to my mother has been fulfilled but it comforts me to know these things have happened.
You see I think the clouds are the surface of eternity. Teeming with the lives of the souls now passed just as the oceans are teeming with life we cannot see.
The change from life to death may well be a change. But with all my heart and all I hold dear, I can’t see that it is the end.