A frantic time of life. Work in Toronto's hyper-competitive media world. Then grab a bus to Barrie (93 km north) at night.
I'd pick my car up in the parking lot, drive the 20 km to my mother's property. She, once again, was hospitalized for many moons. Pets needed care. And the rural home needed to be seen to be occupied.
The crack of dawn and I would drive to Barrie and be on the bus again.
Distracted? You bet.
Did my story make it through the night desk gauntlet?
Is my mother co-operating with the medical team or doing her usual rant/total silence routine?
Are the pets OK?
Then there was the dreaded bus trip – costly and loaded with passengers pulled from central casting.
The stress took its toll. Finally, one night I stepped off the bus and walked across to the boulevard curb to cross the road to my car.
I put one foot out for the pavement and instantly, two large firm hands took my head in their grip and turned my neck so I looked to the left. A speeding car was hurtling my way. If I had taken that fatal step down onto the pavement, I would have been critically injured – maybe even killed.
Shaken, I drove to the house. I realized I had to take care, be in the moment. Those life-saving hands that turned my head? It was way beyond my experience. I had no one to talk to and besides who would even believe me?
Now I know it was my guardian angel – those heavenly entities with us from the moment we draw our first breath until we face mortal death.
There was another time when I saw the tenderness of angels responding to a beloved departing soul's wanting to comfort me.
My aunt Connie died in Toronto. A brilliant artist who let the world smother her talents, Connie accepted me as I am. We also shared a profound passion for art.
I always wanted to keep a reminder of her around me. One thing she loved was those magnificent, shaggy-headed sunflowers. I lived in an old house deep in the river valley. And each year I trimmed the house and front garden with rows of sunflowers.
I was told by relatives surrounding her hospital bed that the only way Connie said she would stop struggling for life would be if I was there. No one had called me, so I of course was thousands of miles away.
Someone fibbed, said, "Lasha is here" and the angels gathered Connie's fragile body into their arms and carried her to talk with St. Peter.
Connie's last words shattered me.
Like most solitary souls, I wanted to be alone. So I fled home and sat on my front wooden steps, drinking tea, remembering Connie's art and looking at the sunflowers.
I planted them at various times throughout the spring so they were at different stages of maturity. I fixated on the young flowers, those with immature buds (the green leaves of the flower head just framing the folded yellow petals) and watched as their heads followed the sun.
Tears finally came as the sun moved west. Then my eyes widened in amazement as all of those flower heads following the sun turned in a mere matter of minutes and looked back at me.
My heart sang. That was Connie's angel (and maybe mine too) having the flowers tell me she was in heaven and happy.
You see, Connie was an avowed atheist.
"This is it," she would tell me. "We all just turn to dust."
I'll bet she was surprised.
I have told only a handful of people about these events. I share them now to say angels – God's messengers – are ever-present.
I told Sister Annata both these stories and she said she had been at a retreat, and the priest leading that spiritual journey told them to name their angel. This would help develop their essential nurturing relationship.
My trouble is when I think of my angel, I always envision an ancient bearded soul garbed in well-worn robes and sitting on his left shoulder is a wee boy, his face radiating trust. Can I have two angels?
At times, I call out to them asking for help with bullies, cruelty, abuse of power. Sometimes I find my perception changes. Usually they point out the situation is finite. Often there is just silence, angel talk for "In the presence of evil, pray."
(Lasha Morningstar email@example.com)