I believe in God. So it shouldn’t be too big of a stretch to accept the existence of angels, but until my unusual visitor I’d never given the matter much thought. I figured even if they did exist, they did so on a level far beyond my own. I was certain they weren’t too concerned with my belief or unbelief in their existence and they were equally unconcerned about my own little life.
So it came as quite a shock to me for one of them to just drop in out of the blue so to speak. After I recovered from my initial surprise I was confronted with a more pressing dilemma. I was in desperate need of advice. Since everyone I knew who might possibly shed some light on my situation was already dead, that didn’t leave me with many options. I could try contacting one of my dearly departed loved ones but there was no guarantee they would be any more in the know about my visitor’s motivation than I was. If there were such things as angels, I sincerely doubted a human soul ascended to their level by the simple act of dying.
So I elected to go to the source…of everything.
Six months earlier, His door would have been closed to me. Or so I assumed. Ever since my mother’s death thirteen years earlier we weren’t exactly on speaking terms. After my mother died, I took refuge in the church. I was raised Catholic, but in adulthood I’d mostly resorted to going through the motions of attending Mass. I wasn’t a Christmas and Easter practitioner, but I didn’t have a close working relationship with the Almighty either.
For a few months after my mother’s death I attended daily Mass. It was a first for me. Most people probably don’t even realize you can attend Mass every day. Several times a day actually, if you follow the Mass schedules of the local churches, though receiving communion is generally reserved for a single time each day. My parish offered two daily Masses, at 6:30 and 9:00 am. As I needed to be at work by eight, 6:30 was my only option. I’m not sure what led me there that first day or even what to expect. I discovered daily Mass was a briefer version of Sunday’s. The entire service lasted less than half an hour. I also discovered the people who attended daily Mass weren’t there to socialize. There’s plenty of room in the pews to find a private place to pray and pretty much everyone there chose a large buffer around them so they could commune with God in silence. It was comforting…the silence…the devotion…the demonstration of faith by so many who started their day in prayer.
I don’t remember how I began a conversation that was long overdue. I remember lots of long silences. Like I was speaking on one frequency and He was responding on another. Eventually though, His voice became clearer. Obviously I was the one who needed to tune my spirit to His, not the other way around. It was a beginning of sorts. It was how I recognized His voice later when He called me home. Back then, on that first day, I was under the impression I was home to stay. Imagine my surprise when after several weeks of attending daily Mass, He told me it was time to get on with my life.
“You’re kicking me out?” I was stunned. I thought he would be pleased by my new-found devotion.
He laughed. “I’m not kicking you out, but it’s time for you to let your mother go and move on with your life.”
It still felt like He was kicking me out. I kept coming back. What was He going to do to me, after all? He pushed, gently. I resisted. He pushed harder. I dug in my heels. This went on for a few more weeks, until I finally gave in. I asked Him how long I had to stay away. His answer almost knocked me off the pew. “Twelve or thirteen years.” He must have been aware of my panicked reaction, because he quickly softened the blow. “Perhaps only ten or eleven years. It’s hard to say. It’s up to you.” I was beyond stunned. I was terrified. How was I supposed to do this alone for ten years?
“You’re never alone.”
His reassurance wasn’t much comfort. That was it. I left. I was upset. My feelings were hurt. I drove to work. I sat at a stop light, waiting for the light to change, loss in thought. A school bus full of children rammed into the back of my car… while I was just sitting there stopped at the light. The driver wasn’t paying attention and anticipated the light’s sequence. I wasn’t injured, but the jolt was strong enough to get my attention. Message delivered. “Fine. Fine. See you in ten years.”
I still attended Sunday Mass. We were raising children after all. But it wasn’t the same. His voice was lost to me.
Yet there I was standing on His door step at another daily Mass. I didn’t realize until later it was exactly thirteen years to the day of the anniversary of my mother’s death. I hesitated at the door, not sure what to expect but half-expecting a bolt of lightning to light up the sky in warning. No lightning. I chanced the door. I needed His help. He was the only one who could tell me what was going on. Why did He send His beloved Michael to me? For what else would he be doing there? And what was I supposed to do with him?
Or there was always the other option. Maybe I was hallucinating. Maybe I was imagining things…everything, actually. I figured He could tell me that too.
I dipped my fingers in the holy water and stepped a little cautiously into the hushed silence of the church. I slid into a pew near the back and knelt on the kneeler. “Is it okay I’m here?” I asked.
“Yes. This is your home. You’re always welcome.”
Another new beginning.
I wondered where this one was leading me.