His sister called, and early the next morning my husband flew west to be at his mother’s bedside. He and his sisters kept vigil. At the hospice nurse’s urging, they spoke to her as if she could hear them, even though she didn’t respond.
Back home, I waited and prayed. For three days, I prayed that the Lord would minister to them even as they ministered to her. Prayed that whatever remained for her spirit to transact with Jesus would take place.
After hours of thunderstorms, late in the afternoon the rain stopped. I grabbed my dog’s leash and pulled on my walking shoes. Outside, leaves dripped, shinning in the soft light of twilight. The grass and trees seemed greener, more vibrant.
When I stepped out from under our oak trees onto the street, I looked up and gasped. On my right, pink and purple clouds tumbled upward from a sunset of scarlet and tangerine.
As I turned to the east, peace poured over me. Pink cotton candy clouds billowed with reflected sunset colors, and two complete rainbows, one over the other, arched across the horizon. The outer bands of color fluxed in and out of the clouds as if someone were mixing watercolors.
A holy moment. A gateway to heaven. I couldn’t move.
Finally, Lily tugged, anxious for her long-awaited walk. I set out, often turning to witness the rainbows. I tried to snap their exquisite beauty with my cell phone, frustrated that the purples and greens wouldn’t come through. I was too close to capture the complete arcs and hoped I could move far enough west to get them. But when I came around the circle and out from under more oak trees, the rainbows had vanished.
But the deep peace abided, an other-world kind of peace that has no basis in circumstances or status.
Not long after I returned home, my husband called, his voice hoarse with emotion.
“Mom’s gone. She’s gone to be with Dad.”
They had been telling stories and laughing about their hard-headed father, who’d died only months before. The sister who’d been caring for their mother so long was holding her hand when she slipped away.
I loved her very much, and I knew that somehow, the Lord had included me in her home-going, 1,300 miles away.
These tiny glimpses of heaven are promises of what is to come, encouragement when the sky is dark and life is brutal. When progress seems so long in coming. When we lose a loved one.
Have you recently experienced a great loss?
Or do you face the gradual seeping away of hope?
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)