Gardner, Jeanne - Jeanne dear, you've seen your glorious sunrise. Do you feel better now?
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
A Grain of Mustard – by Jeanne Gardner as told to Beatrice Moore
EASTER, 1961, was a day I shall never forget. My mother had been taken from me a few weeks earlier, and I was still deeply saddened by my loss. To make matters worse, our community had been hit by a snowstorm, the worst in memory for that time of year. But it was that Easter that changed the course of my life and prompted me to carry on my mother's dream of building a Cathedral on the outskirts of our home town, Elkins, West Virginia.
It was on the night before the holiday that I looked out of the window and noticed that the snow was still falling heavily. Easter Sunday wouldn't seem like Easter Sunday at all. I picked up the evening paper and sat down in the rocker to read. But I couldn't concentrate.
As I sat there, my head fell backward and a distant voice spoke to me, telling me to go the next morning to the Memorial Gardens where my mother was buried to witness the most glorious sunrise I had ever seen. I forced myself to sit upright and fearfully looked across the room. There was no one in the room but me.
Was I losing my mind?
I knew what the weather was like at that moment, and I had heard the forecast of continued snow. There could be no glorious sunrise, yet I was certain I had heard the voice, or at least I thought I was certain. I raced to the telephone and called my mother's sister. Aunt Bess was well aware of the gift of prophecy that had been my mother's, and she herself had visions from time to time. Maybe she could help me. She listened patiently while I spelled out the details of the preceding fifteen minutes; then she spoke to me in comforting tones.
"Jeanne, if it will make you happy to go to Memorial Gardens at five o'clock tomorrow morning, I'll go with you."
I felt somewhat better. There was at least one person who didn't believe I was crazy.
Later, after saying goodnight to my family and preparing for bed, I prayed as I had never prayed before: "Dear God, please give me a sign. Let me know if I am imagining things or if I am to continue my mother's work. I am tormented. I don't know which way to turn. Please give me proof….proof that I am not mentally unbalanced, or proof that You are by my side. Only You can create a glorious sunrise through this snowstorm. I will be waiting."
I continued my prayers, then crept into bed, not to sleep but to wait for 4 A.M. My husband was bitterly opposed to my starting out at that dark hour in a snowstorm, but my aunt was staunch and ready to go when I called for her. Moreover, two other members of my family joined us for the expedition. We arrived at the Memorial Gardens in plenty of time, parked the car, and waited.
After what seemed like an eternity, the clouds to our right parted and a ray of light shone through.
We all sat quietly, expectantly, but nothing further happened. Another half hour passed, and we agreed that the trip was wasted, so I started the motor and turned the car toward town. When I had driven about a mile down the road, I heard that distant voice once again, telling me to pull off to the side of the road. I did so immediately, much to the surprise of everyone who was with me.
But before there was time for them to question my actions, the miracle occurred.
Directly ahead of us, just above the crest of the mountain, the clouds parted and the sun came toward us like a ball of fire. It seemed as though it were suspended on a string. It danced and it twirled, it moved forward and drifted back. None of us in the car was able to grasp what was happening. It was unbelievable. Finally my aunt spoke.
"Jeanne dear," she said, "you've seen your glorious sunrise. Do you feel better now? Do you know what you have to do?"