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
"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
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."
Contributed by Marty Watson