Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you that I am not a religious person. Deeply spiritual, yes, but not particularly religious. I won’t get into my particular beliefs because I don’t need the argumentative mail such remarks can sometimes provoke, but I will say that I find all the accoutrements of religion gets in the way of my communion with a higher power. The pomp and circumstance is for us, not the God/dess/es we choose to worship. I prefer a simpler, more one-on-one experience, but that’s just me.
If pressed, I would say that, yes, I do believe in angels . . . but they aren’t the angels of Christmas cards and paintings. They aren’t rosy-cheeked, fat-assed little cherubim or WASPy, willowy blonde maidens. My idea of angels is more along the lines of Pasquale’s guardian angel in the comic strip “Rose is Rose.” That angel can morph its appearance as it chooses, and when it means business . . . look out!
Let’s think about this. Take, for instance, the Archangel Michael and his flaming sword. Hello? Enormous guy (who may or may not even look like what we think of as a “guy”) with wings brandishing a huge flaming blade? Why do you think they often say “Fear not” when they appear? It’s so we don’t crap ourselves and run off down the hill!
Fortunately, angels take pity on us most of the time. and appear to us in a form our little brains can register without short-circuiting. They may or may not visit often (how the heck would I know?), but I do think they show up from time to time and, if we’re very lucky, we might glimpse them before they’re gone.
I’ve been fortunate in my life to have met two.
One was Rebecca Gore, a young woman I’ve blogged about recently. The other was a girl named Jordan Siborg.
Jordan was 11 when she died. I knew her through my involvement at the therapeutic riding facility where she was a client, so I was lucky enough to see her once a week and become her friend. She was luminous. You could not help but watch her. There was something in her movements, something in her face, that hinted at knowledge beyond the ken of the rest of us. Jordan was blind when I met her and that “disability” had fine-tuned her other senses to an incredible degree. She sensed things. She knew things.
Jordan’s mother Sheila told me two stories about her. (I hope I get the details right. It’s been nine years. Any errors are mine.)
When Jordan was still a baby small enough to ride in the grocery cart seat, they were tooling up and down the aisles when suddenly, out of nowhere, this huge biker is standing beside the cart looking down at the baby. His sudden appearance startled the heck out of Sheila and frightened her a little. Then he turned to her and said, “Pardon me, ma’am, but I saw your little girl’s eyes (Jordan had beautiful eyes and at that point she could still see) clear across the store and I just had to come see her.” He was deeply affected.
The other occasion was a few years later. Jordan will still a little girl and she woke her mother up one night saying, “I need to learn the Hail Mary.” Sheila promised to teach it to her in the morning, but Jordan would have none of it. “I need to learn it NOW.” So Sheila, God bless her, got up and took Jordan back to her room, and there they lay together through the night until Jordan knew what she needed to know.
Jordan died suddenly in May 2002. I attended her memorial service and her funeral. Her mother gave the eulogy (and how she did it, I’ll never know, but she was sterling, amazing). During the service I felt the pulse of energy at the front of the church, directly behind Sheila, and heard wings. I kid you not. Say what you will, deride the experience if you must, but you weren’t there. I know what I know.