In this excerpt from Best Angel Stories 2016, a bride prays for a sign from heaven.
- Posted on Jan 19, 2016
I stood before the full-length mirror in the church’s bridal suite, looking past myself in my wedding gown, searching for a blessing. The secret blessing I’d prayed for.
My soon-to-be mother-in-law fussed with the train on my gown, and the reflection got blurry as my eyes welled with tears. Not even my fiancé, Paul, knew the sadness that weighed on my heart, the longing I had for the presence of the five people missing from my special day. My mom, my aunt, Grandma and Grandpa, and my sister, Audrey.
Five people I’d adored. My aunt and grandmother had passed away many years before; Grandpa, Mom and Audrey had all died within four years of each other. I didn’t know how the rules of heaven worked, but I’d asked God for a travel allowance, permission for all five to be in attendance.
The Wayfarers Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, designed by the son of Frank Lloyd Wright, had a beautiful glass sanctuary—nothing blocked the altar from the sky above.
A perfect view from heaven, I thought.
I had asked for a very specific sign—something fluttering into the church, a sign I couldn’t miss. On that chill November evening, though, I’d finally accepted that it was unlikely to happen. It wasn’t that God didn’t care, but that I’d asked for too much.
“Don’t cry, dear, you’ll ruin your makeup,” Paul’s mother said, noticing the tears trailing down my cheeks. Her English-bred politeness and charm usually eased my nerves. But no one could distract me from the absence I felt today.
“I see that I should give this gift to you now.” She reached into her bag and pulled out a slim box. “I found this lovely handkerchief in a little English shop in Santa Monica. It was such fine quality linen. There was another I liked even more, but this one spoke to me. It has little butterflies on it."
Butterflies? Paul’s mother couldn’t have known—I hadn’t told a soul but God. The sign I’d prayed for was a white butterfly.
She handed me the delicate square of white cloth. Sure enough, it was embroidered with butterflies. Five white butterflies.
A flurry of blotting tissues and powder brushes had me looking radiant in almost no time. Finally ready to walk down the aisle, in front of everyone—everyone—I loved.