Wednesday, April 26, 2017
A couple of years ago, I was given a book called Heaven's Host: The Assignment of Angels, Both Faithful and Fallen by Bobby Conner. It was an interesting read, for sure. The author went into great detail describing angels and their purposes here on earth, including a lot of Biblical references and some descriptions of his encounters with them.
What stood out most to me was his descriptions of angels - what they look like. According to Conner, they are generally attractive and young-looking, but they don't all look the same or have the same sort of countenance or expression. He also says that according to Hebrews 13:2, some may even appear as humans, and we wouldn't be able to distinguish them from humans (p. 77).
Of course, at that point I wondered if I had ever seen a real angel before. I went so far as scanning back in my memories to see if I could find a notable person or face that I might recall, who might just suddenly jump out at me as being a supernatural being. (Oh my goodness, that man at the airport with the navy pea coat was totally an angel...I can see it now!) Of course, I didn't recall anything. If I ever have seen an angel, I was none the wiser. Or perhaps I have never seen one. There was really no point in even wondering about it.
Anyway, my thoughts quickly shifted to people - real, tangible, beautiful people - who have helped me, supported me or done things for me in the most angelic way, and I realized that in addition to the angelic beings that are out there, there are human angels aplenty here on earth who protect, support, provide and bless us. I have a few examples:
When my father-in-law was on his deathbed in the hospital about a year ago, the family had gathered and had spent the night at the hospital. During those dark, late/early hours of 1 - 2 a.m., I remember lying on a small and kind of uncomfortable couch in a family room down the hall, trying to sleep for a while. It was cold and kind of windy in there, and I was huddled in a fetal position, so tired but unable to sleep because I was too cold, but too tired to really care about doing anything about it. The door to the room opened at one point, and I heard soft footsteps and then felt the peaceful security of a soft blanket being placed over me. IT WAS AMAZING! I remember feeling so happy that I was less tired and couldn't sleep afterward. It is hard to describe the monstrosity of such a small gesture, but I will try: I had a simple need, and it was provided for, without me having to ask for it or do anything about it. It reminded me of being a child, when your parents do everything for you. When you become a parent, you do everything for your kids, and people just don't do things like that for you as much anymore. It literally felt like the greatest gift I had ever received in that moment.
I found out later that it was my sister-in-law who came in and covered me up, and I will never forget that moment when my small, seemingly insignificant need was met so gracefully, so angelically. This gesture meant a lot to me in that moment, and still does.
Another example: last year, I had mentioned in passing to Joel about asking our friend, who takes care of our lawn maintenance, to mulch our gardens. Usually, the spring is a busy time of year for all of us, and I assumed that I would have to ask a few times about the mulch and probably frustrate Joel with my nagging before it was done. However, I pulled into my driveway one day after work, not long after we had talked about it, and lo and behold, the gardens were mulched, and I didn't even know that Joel had talked to him about it. It was done, and I think all the angels in heaven were singing as I gazed upon my beautiful gardens. I didn't have to do anything, and it was done!
In this case, sure, you could argue that we asked someone to provide us with a service for which we would pay, so it was just someone doing his job. No, it was more than that! It was something done for us so quickly and efficiently, without me having to follow up or ask Joel several times if he had asked his friend. It was just done, and we didn't have to do it, and it was done quickly, and it was angelic.
The last example I have was around that same time, last year, when my father-in-law had just passed away, and I had so many friends say things like, "Bring the boys over!" or "I can watch them for you on [this] day." or "Let me bring you dinner next week!" or send flowers with loving notes. Honestly, I know these are things people do when a family member dies, but they are not to be taken for granted. I didn't ever expect or think that anyone would have to offer these things to me, but when they did, so much emotion erupted within me because they were just what I needed.
I suppose that all of these human angels in these few examples, these lovely friends and family of mine, are angels because they provided me with the things I needed in those moments, things that were weighing me down and pre-stressing me out, and I received them without asking or having even really established the need in my mind consciously enough to take action for a solution. They filled a need that I hadn't even started to worry about.
Bringing a blanket, mulching a garden or offering to take your kids may seem like relatively small or easy things to the person doing it, but these gestures that we can do for others could be things that bring a flood of light into their day and stay with them as glowing memories for the rest of their lives.
We may never know just how much the acts of kindness we can show to people can affect them in the most positive ways, which is why we should always grasp the opportunities to bless, love and be kind to others.
Books about angels are fascinating, but I have come to really love and appreciate the angels I get to talk to and be with here on earth.