The book cover was like a promise. Marching across the top the letters spelled “THe Possibility of Angels.” I couldn’t wait top turn each page to see what boldly colorful, exuberant creature I would see next. An angel walks down the street barefoot, white robe billowing, a grocery basket on her arm. Another crashes through a ceiling. Some wings are attached to versions of contemporary clothing. Each bursts from the page, calling me to consider what the editor calls “Those rare and unpredictable moments when angels tread on earth.”
My angel fascination began before it was fashionable, evolving into some serious study and reflection over time, and taking on profound new meaning since the death of my sister. The angel stories, books and replicas we shared seem to connect us in a way that defies explanation.
But I am getting ahead of the story.
After weeks of working with my niece to,pack up my sister’s last home, the end was in sight. That night would be the last that I would spend in the place we had spent many happy times; overnights where the wall between the headboard of the guest bed and that of her bed certainly held our late night conversations.
The enormous realization of the last night in this place hit hard. I could not – could NOT- get in that bed, knowing that our voices would not mingle until one of us fell asleep. My tears and I curled up in her chair in the living room. At some point, sleep came.
Around 3AM I startled awake. Maybe I can try the bed, I thought. I pulled back the covers, climbed between the sheets and turned toward the wall, hoping for sleep,to return quickly. I was just settling in when I felt it. A slight, but sure touch on my back. And then, these words, “I have your back.”
When the morning came, the continuing sense of the touch and the words. Sitting in her chair, I thought of the hospital day when we had sat back to back on her bed, desperate to find a position in which I she could breathe, while providing support for her weakening body and spirit.
Marina Wiederken in A TREE FULL OF ANGELS writes: ” Listen, everybody! I saw a tree full of angels shining like stars in the night. Can you not believe that? Come now, don’t be a cynic. Your heart was made for deep things. Your entire being was designed for visions.”
The Preface to “The Possibility of Angels” ends, “As you read this volume, listen carefully. Beneath the sound of the pages as you turn them , that faint, u fathomable sound is the rustling of wings as angels take flight.”
If we are to believe those who have had them, an encounter with an angel can be challenging: troubling; uncomfortable, as it can be comforting, peaceful. The sense of a message from the world beyond most certainly will invite some internal shift in perception.
The book lives beside my bed. The touch lives in me.
MYSTICAL TRUTH, according to the late Bishop Bennett Sims, is the unsummoned presence of the Beyond. He said, ” I believe it is the deepest level of Truth available to human experience. It means that the opposite of a grasped truth is truth that does the grasping. The initiative in seeking and finding such truth is generally not one’s own, but comes unbidden by human resolve or expectation. Every level of truth above this can be experienced, comprehended and articulated, whereby mystical truth is confined almost entirely to the level of experience. It is the sensation of being taken hold of in one’s depth by an exhalting power that lifts one above the ordinary.”
From SErVANTHOOD: Leadership in
The New Millennium