The Most Senior sat next to me. She sighed gently, making a small cloud tumble and giggle. Then it came back and formed a circle around her head. “Look I’m a halo” came from round her head. She smiled and said, “Thank you so much, you make a beautiful halo”.
The cloud swirled around giggling as it gave her a moving halo, but when a small flicker of lightning appeared, the cloud said “Pardon me, I guess I have an electron build-up”.
Most Senior and I smiled at each other. These baby clouds sometimes forget they could become the carriers of thunder storms if they get into the winds that change their electron balances when they grow big.
Most Senior held my hand. It was a reassuring gesture, even though we are no longer human, memories of bodies still give the feelings. She said, I would like you to help some angels new to the guarding to understand. I see that Big Julie is looking most forlorn. It seems that his person has had some troubles, and Big Julie feels he should have prevented them.
“Of course I’ll do what I can”, I replied. The Most Senior enfolded me in a hug. Angel hugs are so much better than human ones, because the hugger can enfold you in wings too, and they are soft and protecting.
“Hello there”, I said to Big Julie. He looked up, very forlorn. “You look very down in the dumps. Want to talk about it?” I said as I held out my arms to hug him. He fitted right inside my arms and wings, even though he is a very big angel. That still amazes me sometimes, the malleability of what used to be governed by the laws of physics. As humans, he would have been about twice as big as I was, yet here, if I was offering comfort and protection, I would immediately be somehow bigger than he.
Big Julie began to cry. “I can’t protect her” he said. “I love Kewa, she is mine to protect, ever since she was born. And now there is a man who is hurting her, beating her. I can’t seem to stop him. And then on top of that there is now a bully at her school, who is tormenting her.”
“Tell me first about yourself”, I began.
Big Julie looked surprised.
“Well”, he began “I was born and grew up in a rough neighbourhood. My mother was a religious woman, my father well meaning, but rather a drunk. He never amounted to anything, she should have been a saint. She died when I was 13. He tried, but he just couldn’t do more than make sure we had food and clothes.
As a teenager I joined a gang. They liked me because I was big for my age.
At 18 I was approached by a man, who took me to meet another man. A godfather he called him. Nothing godly about him really.
Though them I became a crook. Beating up shopkeepers who couldn’t pay the ‘protection money’, scaring or really hurting people who owed the godfather money, from gambling or loan-sharking. It didn’t matter why, but if they couldn’t pay, we hurt them. They called me Big Julie, just as my mother had done when I was a child. Somehow it made everything I did ok, as though my mother sent them to make me one of their family.
I became a man with them, a man who did everything asked of him by those who had given him a place in life.
Then came a ‘war’. Another family trying to mess with our territory. I was riding with the godfather as protection, when two other cars came fast down the road at us. One car hit us forcing us to stop, the other drove past and then swung behind our car, so we couldn’t move.
Then the shooting started.
As I looked up I saw a woman and child at the side of the road, they had been about to cross the road. The mother went down, blood coming from her neck where she had been hit.
All I could see was the child, covered in the flying blood and looking worried and scared and starting to cry a bit. All I wanted to do was rescue the child and make the mother ok again.
As I realised that I too was hit by many bullets and died.
We realised when I came here that my true calling should have been as a protector, so here I am, joining the guardian angels. This is my first job. My little Kewa is lovely. A smile to melt the heart of anyone, a kindness that makes every small animal trust her. I guess that’s where the problem lies, her stepfather can’t understand why she wants to look after every stray animal, so he beats her when she brings them home.
But I can’t stop him. I have tried and tried.”
Big Julie sobbed now. “Is this because I was so bad for so long? Is she suffering because of me?”
I took his hand and dried his tears. “Julie, nothing you did can affect her life, so stop blaming yourself. A guardian angel is not a physical presence that can prevent hurt and bad things. A guardian angel is the help a person needs to guard their own heart and thoughts and actions so that they live as they should. As a full human being.
You can’t stop accidents, you can’t stop other people. What you can do is help your person.
Remember for all humans, life is not what happens to them, but what they make of it.”
Big Julie jumped up, hugged me and said “Thank you”
I saw him again some time later. Big Julie came to me and we brushed wings as we hugged. The hug of equals.
He said, “You gave me the clue.
Kewa now runs a shelter for abandoned and abused children. She is married and has two children of her own, three grandchildren and a wonderful husband.
Her heart is full of love and happiness, she still makes everyone smile. When things look difficult, as funds are not always sufficient, I help her remember that she makes a difference with every smile, every time she listens to a child telling her something, every time she kisses some childhood sadness or hurt away.
I helped her realise that what she did was more important than what was done to her. She ran away from home at 12 and has never looked back. She has done it all herself.
All I did was to help her realise she is powerful with the love she has to give.”
Big Julie wandered off to chat to some others.
I reflected. At first I’d just wished one day he’d stop wearing his gangster outfit and get rid of that machine gun. Somehow it didn’t seem quite the appropriate outfit for a guardian angel. Now I realise it is perfect; for him.