After my grandmother's visitation service I had to go to a can't-miss meeting at my church. After the meeting I climbed the hill and sat at my mother's grave for a while.
This was my view.
I was thinking of the hymn "Blessed Assurance," which includes oh what a foretaste of glory divine! If this is just a foretaste, Glory itself is going to be exquisite. Both my mother and grandmother are in that place now.
Thursday evening after sunset we got home from Vacation Bible School and I looked up the hill to my grandmother's house and saw two low, beautiful, back-lit clouds. They seemed remarkable to me for no reason at all--they really were not remarkable. But they seemed to be. I didn't know it then, but that was her last night alive.
A week ago on Sunday we were driving home from church when I saw this surprising thing in the sky. It had not rained and did not rain later, but there was this cloud striped with a rainbow. It was much brighter in person. Apparently it is a relatively uncommon phenomenon--either cloud iridescence or a circumhorizontal arc.
Two years ago I had a difficult miscarriage early in the second trimester. (Here is one comfort I received.) I prayed desperately to God that He would let me know that the baby was with my mother--an odd request, perhaps, but my desperate plea nonetheless. I had a lucid, vivid, joyful dream soon after: I was looking out my bathroom window at my grandmother's house on the hill, and it was after sunset, and I was admiring the beautiful, delicate nighttime clouds, when one turned into an angel, and another into a little baby that unraveled from an umbilical cord and then landed in the angel's arms. I felt immeasurable, all-surpassing, unearthly joy, a happiness with no earthly heaviness. I was euphoric. In my dream I knew my child was well and that I was being given a gift to see this.
All these clouds! And last night I stumbled upon a reference to the "cloud of witnesses" in Hebrew 12--the saints who have gone before us to pave the way and to inspire. It was like God decided to wink at me one more time.
Annie Dillard wrote, "It's all a matter of keeping my eyes open." Yes, indeed.