I believe in angels — yes, the fluttering kind, who whisper of impending doom just before the certain crash. These spirits warn of the child who has fallen behind your car; the evil stranger at the gate; the missed page of questions on that terrible exam. They gently push your spirit back to earth when it strays from your body, yearning for the path to heaven. They tell you that it’s not your time. They soothe your soul.
But I believe in earth angels, too; the kind with flesh beneath sun-kissed cheeks. They come with jumper cables, strong hands, pots and pans and one-dish meals. They have their mother’s eyes, the last names of their departed husbands, and wrinkled cotton sweaters buttoned to their chins. They burn the cell phone lines with assurances that you were not a bad mother, that you are loved, that you did not make stupid decisions and that your passions have meaning outside the narrow confines of your gloomy home. They listen. They murmur of better days ahead. Then they sweep the floor and wash the windows. They shovel snow. They take their time and wait until you’re ready, then start to clear the closets of a decade of worthless clutter.
I believe in angels. Because of angels, I can function despite my own ineptitude. My tires have air. My umbrella unfurls above the rocking chair on my porch.
The angels constantly send messages of support. Tiny plaques proclaim the message of resilience. Greeting cards gather dust beside the china hearts on the keeping shelf. I scroll through the digital memories and smile. I study every picture, memorize the contours of the angel’s face so that I will not forget. I close my eyes and summon the gentle cadence of long-familiar voices.
When I lay my weary body down to sleep, celestial specters dance in the cool of the darkened house. They croon a lullaby which only I can hear. I believe in angels. I walk in their deep footprints as they forge ahead through muck and mud. I rest easy knowing that the angels of my life will not forsake me, even if I stumble, even if I fail.
It’s the eighth day of the eightieth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.