This little story reminds us to listen to that small quiet voice from within -- you never know where it will lead you.
As a teacher of origami (the ancient Japanese art of paper folding) at the LaFarge Lifelong Learning Institute in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Art Beaudry was asked to represent the school at an exhibit at a large mall in Milwaukee. He decided to take along a couple hundred folded paper cranes to pass out to people who stopped at his booth.
Before that day, something strange happened -- a voice told him to find a piece of gold foil paper and make a gold origami crane. The voice was so insistent that Art actually found himself rummaging through his collection of origami papers at home until he found one flat, shiny piece of gold foil.
"Why am I doing this?" he asked himself. Art had never worked with the shiny gold paper; it didn't fold as easily or neatly as the crisp multicolored papers. But that little voice kept nudging. Art tried to ignore the voice. "Why gold foil anyway? Paper is much easier to work with," he grumbled.
The voice continued. "Do it! And give it to a special person." By now Art was getting a little cranky. "What special person?" he asked the voice. "You'll know which one," the voice said.
That evening Art carefully folded and shaped the unforgiving gold foil until it became as graceful and delicate as a real crane about to take flight. He packed the exquisite crane in the box along with about 200 other colorful paper cranes he'd made over the previous few weeks.
The next day at the mall, dozens upon dozens of people stopped by Art's booth to ask questions about origami. He demonstrated the art. He folded, unfolded and refolded. He explained the intricate details, the need for sharp creases.
Then, suddenly, there was a woman standing in front of Art. Was this that special person? Art had never seen her before, and she hadn't said a word as she watched him carefully fold a pink piece of paper into a crane with pointed, graceful wings.
Art glanced up at her face, and before he realized it, he found himself reaching for the "gold-foil crane" he'd labored over the night before. Carefully he picked up the gold crane, and gently placed it in the woman's hand.
Art said: "I don't know why, but a voice told me to give you that golden crane. The crane is the ancient symbol of peace," Art said simply.
The woman didn't say a word as she slowly cupped her hand around the fragile bird as if it were alive. When Art looked at her face, he saw tears filling her eyes.
Finally, the woman took a deep breath and said, "My husband died three weeks ago. This is the first time I've been out. Today ...." She wiped her eyes with her free hand, still gently cradling the golden crane with the other. Then she said very quietly, as tears streamed down her face. "Today would have been our 'golden' wedding anniversary."
Then the lady said in a clear voice, "Thank you so much for this beautiful gift. Now I know that my husband is at peace.
Don't you see? The voice you heard, it was the voice of God, and this beautiful crane is a gift from Him. It's the most wonderful 50th wedding anniversary gift I could have received. Thank you for listening to Holly Spirit within your heart."
And that's how Art learned to listen very carefully, when the Holy Spirit speaks to him within, and tells him to do things he may not understand -- now or even later.
Are you listening, my friend? God may be speaking to you.