The Golden Crane

The Golden Crane

From A 3rd Serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul

The Golden Crane

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, however, something strange happened— a voice told him to find a piece of gold foil paper and make a gold origami crane. The strange 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 harrumphed and tried to ignore the voice. “Why gold foil anyway? Paper is much easier to work with,” he grumbled.

The voice continued. “Do it! And you must give it away tomorrow 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 very 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 bird in the box along with about 200 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 there was a woman standing in front of Art. The special person. Art had never seen her before, and she hadn’t said a word as she watched him carefully fold a bright pink piece of paper into a crane with pointed, graceful wings.

Art glanced up at her face, and before he knew what he was doing, his hands were down in the big box that contained the supply of paper cranes. There it was, the delicate gold-foil bird he’d labored over the night before. He retrieved it and carefully placed it in the woman’s hand.

“I don’t know why, but there’s a very loud voice inside me telling me I’m supposed to give you this 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 small hand around the fragile bird as if it were alive. When Art looked up at her face, he saw tears filling her eyes, ready to spill out.

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.

She spoke very quietly. “Today is our golden wedding anniversary.”

Then this stranger said in a clear voice, “Thank you for this beautiful gift. Now I know that my husband is at peace. Don’t you see? That voice you heard, it’s the voice of God and this beautiful crane is a gift from Him. It’s the most wonderful 50th wedding anniversary present I could have received. Thank you for listening to your heart.”

And that’s how Art learned to listen very carefully when a little voice within him tells him to do something he may not understand at the time.

Patricia Lorenz

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