[Scroll down for the musical video at the end of this post…or read the context first to get more out of it!]
I was at a Women’s Christmas Tea in London, Canada, last week, where I’d been asked to speak on the topic of angels. Angels, huh? How very Christmas-themy. Though I’ve believed in their existence my entire life (a belief reinforced by a certain Miss Scribner and related in my post titled “Mace and Angels”), I found that my immediate thoughts on the subject related more to pop-culture angels than to the celestial beings about which I was supposed to pontificate for 30 minutes.
You’ve got to admit it—our understanding of cherubim, seraphim and archangels has been somewhat dulled by their mediatized counterparts, most of which border on blasphemy.
There’s the one (above) who made me want to marry the angel in question. (Who didn’t?) The one who made me miss my grandpa. The one who made me want to marry the angel of death. (Which makes me sound a bit creepier than I like.) And the one who made me want to get a quick round of liposuction. (And a feathered haircut.) The Victoria’s Secret angels are to spirituality what white chocolate cheesecake is to healthy eating. (I set out to blur the inappropriate parts of this photo of them and was left with something that looks like a Rorschach test!)
Sometimes God uses us—mortal, imperfect non-angels—to show himself to others.
If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you know that my life is a kaleidoscope of disappointments, successes, abuse, love, pain, resilience, grace and cruelty.
Looking back over the circuitous path that led through the challenges to a place of serenity (though still not devoid of trials), it’s flesh-and-blood angels I see lining the way. People as human as me who expressed God’s love through genuine concern, though healing words, through wordless kindness and loyal presence. Most often without even speaking His name.
My life was soothed and buoyed by their affirming words, their encouraging smiles, their random acts of kindness, their practical provision and personal concern, their gestures of compassion, their hand-written notes, their invitations to get-togethers, their hugs, their laughter, their hope communicated in so many tangible and intangible ways.
Sometimes the best thing we can do to honor those who “angeled” us is to angel someone else. Can you think of anyone in your life who may benefit from a kind gesture? Close friends or acquaintances who could use some encouragement? A family member? A neighbor? A cashier at your grocery store or a waiter at your favorite restaurant? Someone who is grieving, alone, jobless, not feeling well…? Or someone who looks like everything is fine, but whose name came to mind as you considered who to bless.
It doesn’t have to be costly. It doesn’t have to be tangible. An act of kindness. A loneliness-relieving conversation. Acknowledgement that the person exists and is important.
In preparation for my evening in London, I looked for a video/song that would close the evening in a theme-appropriate way. After much searching, I found nothing quite as “on the nose” as I’d hoped for. So I recorded my own and am posting it below, technical flaws and all. It’s not about to win any Grammys, but if it serves to remind us of the needs that surround us and of the unique role we can play in being “a gleam of kindness in their darkest night,” I’ll be satisfied.
(Plug in your earphones or external speakers for best sound. It tends to distort through built-in speakers…)
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