Angels of Hope

The Destroying Angel and Daemon of Evil…William Etty 1832

All my life, from the very first memories I seem to have, I believed in angels, and miracles, and saints.  I also was eventually taught to believe in their opposites—devils, tragedies, and heretics.  This was a strange mix for a young boy at the “age of reason,” where we are told we are now supposed to know the difference between the angels who were in God’s favor, and the ones who were not—the “fallen angels.”

The Angel Standing in the Sun – Joseph William Turner 1789-1862

In the classical artworks and glass-stained images I saw in the different churches I visited, the angels of righteousness often appeared with some sort of flaming sword to impose their rightness upon us, and to protect that which is good. 

It was often confusing or scary to my youthful mind, and in order to calm us—to calm the new believer—we learned about our “guardian angel,” who would stay with us, and always watch over us. They would somehow be able to warn us when we were about to do something we shouldn’t do, as well as bolster us and support us when we did the right thing.  Clearly, it was a relief to know this, as I often felt conflicted about the circumstances of my life, and needed such an angel, perhaps more than most of my peers, who often seemed to have much less need of one.  It wasn’t that I was inclined toward the darkness, so much as because I was terribly insecure and vulnerable—easily persuaded and naïve.

Occasionally, in the movies or on television shows, we see the protagonist with the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other. It’s a bit of a stretch to suppose that this mythologizing of our dual human tendencies actually takes place for anyone these days, but it does present a powerful image of being conflicted about our choices sometimes.

For me, the “guardian angel” was a godsend. (No pun intended) It gave me confidence that I could resist wrongdoing, while also providing me with the hope of redemption should I, at some point, give in to temptation, or go astray in any number of ways. As I grew and became a little more sophisticated, I began to wonder why such things would be so. Why would we need a guardian angel? For me, it became an angel of hope—hope for my future in the next life. 

It was my guardian angel who held me back from running out into the street to avoid the on-coming car, but it was an angel of hope who lifted me up when I fell, bruised my knee, and ripped a hole my pants; it was my guardian angel when I fell thirty feet off a painter’s scaffold, who saved me from certain death, but it was an angel of hope, riding with me in the car in California, when I crashed into a telephone pole, left upside-down on a coastal highway for almost an hour, who brought the anonymous, off-duty EMT, who pulled me out of the wreckage and got me safely to the hospital, without even leaving their name.  

I have been the grateful recipient of an angel of hope, numerous times, who has steered me toward other angels in this life, when my life seemed quite dark, somehow shining a light that helped me to see my way through a trial.  It was an angel of hope sitting next to me during the precarious moments I experienced when my children were being born; it was an angel of hope who arrived in my life so many times, when everything seemed to be falling apart, during episodes of grief and loss, illness and moments of despair.

The Annunciation of the Lord – Bartolomé Murillo 1617-1682

It seems possible to me now, looking back over decades of life, when I occasionally encountered a stranger, who could have been just a really nice person, but who somehow helped me through a moment of difficulty, that they may have been guided by their own variety of angel.

Over the many years since I have been seeking to understand the true nature of my experiences, especially during times of great stress, even during events when there was no physical presence of another person, there have periodically been particularly strong indications within me that I perceived a sensation of an energy or of being in an extraordinary energetic state, and found myself speaking out loud, as though someone might hear, declaring my openness to accept those energies; helping me to hold on; helping me to get through; helping me to understand, and to keep going.

Now, in my advanced age and maturity, even the arrivals of my dear, sweet grandchildren, have brought me to conclude that they must be included in the total count of angels I’ve encountered, each and every one.  Even the ones who have grown-up now are still, locked in my memory, as a gift which I could not possibly have deserved, but when I held each of them in my arms for the first time, there clearly was a perception on my part, of a divine glow, that only a newborn child could possess.

If we are truly open to these natural inclinations for achieving a degree of awareness of a spiritual component to our existence, the most likely common response we will feel is gratitude, and although I have been seeking to understand and appreciate the true nature of my many experiences over the years, I must say that I never knew just how clearly these energies have been present in my life, and it is only now that I truly see it.

4 thoughts on “Angels of Hope

    1. I agree. If we are genuinely grateful for the good in our lives, and appreciate the value of adversity in helping us to achieve and grow, the long-term benefits can increase greatly…

    1. Thank you for your kind remarks. After creating and publishing 400 postings, I am starting to get a little better as I go. Achieving success in any endeavor is said to require ten percent inspiration, and ninety percent perspiration. I can certainly attest to that!

      I very much appreciate your attention to my writing…John H.

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