Sharing Spiritual experiences with people I know and am acquainted with is a great risk. Sharing Spiritual experiences with strangers is down right frightening. As I sit here organizing my thoughts and quelling my fears, it suddenly occurred to me that I have never shared my experiences and writings with my husband. One of the reasons for this is most of these happenings were pre-Jim. Another is, I have taken these experiences as so normal for me that it doesn’t occur to me to share them in the course of the day. I have mentioned to Jim that I tend to talk to my guardian angel out loud and often. This includes waking up, stumbling toward the kitchen for my cup of coffee, while I run through a litany of “Good Mornings” to the Lord, Holy Mother, Reuben and St. Francis of Assisi. I wanted Jim to be forewarned and not overly disturbed with me “talking to myself.” Of course, I got the standard reply for him concerning most things I do, “OK,” with or without the mental shrug.
This is the man who was asked by our counseling priest in marriage prep thirty-five years ago, what he thought of some of my hobbies. I was into belly dancing at the time. His reply was, “I don’t care if she sits in a tree and yells at the squirrels. She’ll come down some time.” So, my talking to my guardian angel is hardly a blip on the radar screen considering the things I can and have gotten into over the years. But, I digress. Now, back to Reuben.
In the 1990’s(?), there was a woman in Falmouth, KY., with whom Holy Mother was speaking. One of the things Holy Mother told her was the date after which she would no longer speak publicly with this women. So, on the last day of Mary’s elocutions, a car load of us went to hear and observe this phenomenon. As the elocution was coming to an end, my eyes were drawn to sky behind me and to my left. Without a breeze stirring, a scene made of clouds appeared in the sky. It was the depiction of a cross with a kneeling form on each side at the base. Without a strong breeze, the clouds moved across the sky remaining intact and stopping near the area where the woman was kneeling in prayer. While I had watch this cloud scene move, others had not. With an exclamation of “look” from another attendee, the scene was observed by over 100 other people in attendance that fall day.
Sometime ago, while waiting for the “pups” to finish eating, I was sitting with them watching the clouds move by. Perhaps a tangent explanation of “sitting with the pups” is needed. The dog feeding station is in the tractor shed of our front barn and consists of two pallets side by side covered with a sheet of plywood upon which sets the dog and cat food barrels and the dog’s food bowls. In order to keep food stealing and snarling down to a minimum I sit between them the dogs, twice a day, every day. So, sitting there gives me down time to meditate and muse, generally at the evening feeding.
While cloud gazing one day, the memory of the cloud painting that appeared at Falmouth came to mind. After meditating on it, it suddenly occurred to me to challenge Reuben, my guardian angel, to draw some pictures to see if he had any artistic abilities. Over a short period of time, the summer clouds took on rather distinct animal shapes with me laughing and saying, “well that is pretty good, but “no cigar.” In order to make this a real challenge instead of random cloud forms, I decided I would tell Reuben what I wanted him to try to make. The stipulation was the cloud picture had to be a true picture of an animal, caricature, or scene that I would pick and request done. For some reason this seemed perfectly natural. Rueben and I have been very close since the time he saved my life on the Long Island expressway. I was certain that he would respond to this challenge.
So, the first cloud picture I asked for was an owl. After all an owl would eliminate all clouds that could look like a poodle. I began waiting and looking for an owl. Now we come to the part that my daughter has asked me never to tell anyone. I have a 16 oz. travel coffee mug that has a picture of a barn owl coming in for a landing. If you want to see the travel mug go to cafepress.com and go to Molly Royal owl section. The barn owl’s feet are extended. The legs are straight, the talons are open. The left wing is extended out, right wing folded toward the body at elbow joint and the is body leaning back. The owl is in landing position. I love this mug.
I have forgotten the exact time between the challenge and the late afternoon that I went out to feed the dogs and noticed two long streaks of clouds over the barn. There were three short streaks at the end of each long one. Once I saw those, I looked down at the gravel and thought, “No, I am not going to look any further. This cannot be happening.” I went into the tractor shed put down the dog’s feed and sat down between them. I looked out at the sky and thought about the two parallel streaks with the three streaks on the end of them. It looked like legs and claws! The thought came, “you better get up and look.” So, I did… There was a reproduction of my travel mug picture in clouds! Where the face of the barn owl is triangular, this was round with thin wispy clouds in the center. The cloud wings were in the manner of picture and in proportion to the long legs. And, this drawing was not in the middle of any cloud formation that required imagination “to see” the owl form. It was out in the middle of clear blue sky and over our front barn.
Thoroughly impressed, thrilled and smiling, I had to admit that Reuben was a great artist!! After this, the challenge was on. I saw a beautifully formed horse’s head, with an arched neck and mane flowing off of it. There was, of course, the standard poodle and a bear. While those were exceptional they were too easy, so to speak. I was sure I could stump Reuben with the next one. I wanted a dragon. Of course, I didn’t stipulate what kind of dragon. I had the movie dragon types that we are used to seeing on the screen and in books. One with ridges of spiked scales down the neck, wings, tail and wedge-shaped head. A Dragon! Well, that is not exactly what I got. One evening after walking up the lane to lock the gate, I was chiding Rueben that I had not yet seen a dragon. And, I was wondering what was taking so long… Of course, I knew what was taking so long, he couldn’t do it. It was too hard. I was smirking at the thought that I had finally stumped him, when I look up at a large cumulus cloud just off the corner of our house. There was a salt water Sea Dragon, with trumpet nose and all. It looked just like that ones shown in the diving films of creatures of the ocean reefs. My reaction was, “O.k., smart ass, you win!” Another great one that brought a laugh and a smile. Later there was a dragon with wings up, not spread out, and a triangular head with trailing tail. The rest of the body was still part of a cloud to the base. The hind legs were not distinct. But, it was a mythical dragon.
There were three more cloud pictures before our time of cloud painting ended. Two that I ordered and one that was another great surprise and demonstrated Reuben’s sense of humor. The last two I challenged Reuben with were an alligator and a dog that was not a poodle! The alligator was going to be in the category of the dragons. Really difficult if not impossible. I could see that a generic dog that was not a poodle would be possible.
I was wrong again. Just after noon one day, I was looking for some thing or maybe someone and was walking down the side of our front barn. I caught the glimpse of a lone white cloud surrounded by blue sky at the end of the barn. Stopping and looking up, I saw an alligator head with it’s mouth open and lower jaw tilted up, resting on a rounded cloud base. There were no teeth, just the open mouth. Long snout and jaw, and no eye-ridge, but an open area that resembled an eye. He did it again.
Another remarkable cloud painting was the dog painting. This time it was evening just about sunset when a large white cloud off of the horizon to the east caught my attention. There in all of its glory was a “Westie!” A West Highland Terrier with clear open eyes and a small gray cloud to make a shadow on it’s nose for depth. Truly amazing.
By the way, Reuben is great with drawing animals and half a clam shell, but he cannot do flowers! Hah! The one cloud drawing that was the most humorous involves telling a tangent story.
Years ago, when my granddaughter Katie was three or four, Mary, Mark and Katie went to Disney World. On the drive back, Katie was in her car seat with a huge Mickey Mouse sucker on a long stick. Mary turned around and asked her how she liked her Mickey sucker, to which Katie replied, “Minnie.” Mary answered, “No, Mickey.” Katie said, “No, Minnie!” Mary leaned between the seats and emphatically stated, “Mickey!” At this point, Katie hit her mother between the eyes with “Mickey!” Pain shot between Mary’s eyes as they watered and teared. That was the end of the discussion. For the sake of propriety, I will not reveal Mary’s thoughts at the time. But, over the years, the Minnie, Mickey back and forth has become a family joke. Keeping this story in mind, I return to Reuben’s cloud drawings.
The last big one drawing was again in the early evening, after feeding the dogs, I looked up toward the North. There was a large cloud which looked like the pictures of Disney’s first Mickey Mouse, “Steamboat Willie.” In fact, this looked like a side view of him and I said, “Oh, Mickey!” The reply came, “No, Minnie!” As I looked down to the feet of the image, they had short streaks on them that looked like “Minnie’s heels.” It was “Minnie!”
I am sure there will be some negative reactions to this writing. Even as I reread it, it is hard to believe and I am the one who lived it. While I do have a “fertile” imagination, it is also a sanctified one. My meditations over the years have taken on much of the same forms of the unusual experiences above. I hesitate to write these down, but they are all part of who I am that I have kept secret. The reason for writing about these is to share with those who may have had similar experiences and wonder how or with whom to share them.
My experiences with God, the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Holy Mother Mary and Reuben, among others, are just that, My Experiences. I am not preaching about them or demanding others must experience the same or similar things in order to be “spiritual.” My point is God is bigger than anything any of us can conceive. God is creative. And, God knows no boundaries. God loves us each and everyone of us, individually. Do not be afraid of who you are because some one, some where may truly need to hear what you have to say.