Angels On My Path

 
Image: A message in a bottle among some river rocks. A house on the hill in background.  Photo by  Andrew Measham  on  Unsplash .

Image: A message in a bottle among some river rocks. A house on the hill in background.
Photo by Andrew Measham on Unsplash.

Let’s talk about angels today. If we’ve been to a coffeeshop together you have probably heard me mention them. Wait, that’s not small talk? Oops! I’ve been obsessed with “angels watching over me” since I was a little girl. I’ve sung it, felt it, experienced it, perceived them filling space in a room. As uncertain as I am about faith at times, I have never once been unsure about them.

I realize a lot of ink has been spilled over the centuries in attempts to define what they are, exactly, and how a human can encounter them. Some mysteries cross our path in the wild, untamed, waiting for the wanderer to wonder, interpret and contemplate.

Here is one of my favorite descriptions:

“We meet an angel whenever a life-giving message touches a human heart,” writes Brother David Steindl-Rast in introduction to his book Music of Silence.*

The resonance of this one small sentence has taken root in my soul- I keep returning to it as the years pass.

Remember in The Princess Diaries movie where Mia tells her grandmother, Queen Clarisse, that she wants her to meet her “baby”? Well, this is sort of like that. <grins Anne Hathaway-ly> I want you to meet… my angels:

Oasis

Sanctuary

Healing

Mercy

These are four “life-giving messages,” taking on the form of words, that follow me along my path. Guardian angels, if you will, expressly appointed to this task of sustaining my soul and keeping my heart grounded and soft. It’s more than coincidence, the number of times I’ve caught glimpses of them in unexpected places or found myself being carried by the power of their momentum when my heart was too weary. Each time a gift. Each encounter a reminder of belovedness. Some folks like to call that synchronicity. (Me, too.)

Oasis: A call away from the extreme weather of intense life experiences. There are places to find water, to find shelter, to find breath. Even as the next task seems to be barreling down from an angry sky full of unmet expectations or regret, there are spaces that call us into their rest, such as a gnarled old tree, a rose in bloom, a stranger’s smile, etc. There are moments of rest that give space for restoration, quenching the parched throat, inviting us to linger in the songs of cool twilight stillness and crisp morning breeze.

Sanctuary: A place of refuge. Security. A nestling in arms of both love and protection. A place where the storms are kept at bay while we recover our center and purpose. Where we are infused with the firm knowledge that we matter, are not a bunch of has-beens, that there is “a place” for everyone on this planet, in this timeline.

Healing: As an active verb. The clarion call to rise up and bring our power into spaces that need the attentive kind of love that can both comfort and direct the hurting toward a more peaceful, hopeful existence. A movement, like a tree, that grows depth and breadth, in places hidden or on display, faithful to the wisdom work regardless of weather.

Mercy: This is my favorite one. I think it’s okay to have a favorite angel, but I am happy to be wrong. This life-giving word is the kind that means relief- showing compassion to a vulnerable people in a vulnerable world. As in acts where one seeks to provide oasis, sanctuary, and healing to everyone in their path. The summation of all messages in one. Mercy as creating a safe space where calling for help is less scary. Telling stories that empower and energize. The practice of pulling over to the side of the road when someone is in distress.

These are the four words overshadowing my path. These are a few of my angels, watching over me. Talking me down from panic. Singing me back when I’ve wandered far off the track. Soothing the open wounds of scarcity and invisibility when they refuse to mend and scar over.

I want us to always be looking for messengers such as these; postured to observe a glimpse of divine energy in the form of a compassionate word.

What are the words that watch over you, that contribute staying power when hope feels scarce? The power to keep loving when humans let you down? The fire that lights up your eyes when people ask you what you dream?

What are your angels’ names?


There are messengers in life

I find myself meeting over and over,

Always crossing paths,

Stumbling into synchronicity.

Guardian or guide,

Tangible or ethereal,

My soul bears witness to a change

In atmosphere, in presence, in hope.

One part history, one part legacy,

Throughout the ages, they’ll call me by name

Copyright © 2019, by Jamie Wright Bagley


*This book, Music of Silence: A Sacred Journey through the Hours of the Day, is timeless. I say timeless with a twinkle in the eye since it is about observing the liturgy of the hours. The puns follow me, I can’t help it! Maybe they are angels, too. So, listen: If you’re looking for an authentic immersion into practicing contemplative spirituality, it’s one of my top recommendations for books you need on your shelf. - Love, Jamie

 
Jamie Bagley