May the Angels in their beauty bless you.
May they turn towards you streams of blessing.
May the Angel of Awakening stir your heart
To come alive to the eternal within you,
To al the invitations that quietly surround you.
May the Angel of the Imagination enable you
To stand on the true thresholds;
At ease with your ambivalence
And drawn in your new directions
Through the glow of your contradictions.
May the Angel of Compassion open your eyes
To the unseen suffering around you.
May the Angel of Wildness disturb the places
Where your life is domesticated and safe,
Take you to the territories of true otherness
Where all that is awkward in you
Can fall into its own rhythm.
May the Angel of Eros introduce you
To the beauty of your senses
To celebrate your inheritance
As a temple of the holy spirit.
May the Angel of Justice disturb you
To take the side of the poor and the wronged.
May the Angel of Encouragement confirm you
In worth and self-respect,
That you may live with the dignity
That presides in your soul.
May the Angel of Death arrive only
When your life is complete
And you have brought every gift
To the threshold where its infinity can shine.
May all the Angels be your sheltering
And joyful guardians.
– John O’Donohue
A Blessing of Angels
The last time I shared the above poem was on Sept. 17, 2016, my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary, a week before the Angel of Death claimed Daddy. Christmas is the time I miss my parents most, and as I sat in front of the tree last night, contemplating my life in the context of this crazy world that we find ourselves in at the moment, my eyes flew up to the top of the tree, where this majestic angel stands. I really don’t remember when it was that Mommy introduced placing an angel on top of the tree instead of a star, but I continued the tradition and find it far more meaningful this way. I suppose I decorate my tree in a rather counterflow method, with the angel on top and the stars scattered all around the tree, interspersed with a few frogs of course! But the main attraction is and always will be the angel.
We live with the common misconception that angels have wings, float around in flowing white robes and sport perfect glistening halos. This can’t possibly be any further from from the truth. The angels I have encountered in my life have no wings, and if they halos they were lopsided, rusty, battered and pretty well hidden. I saw no traces of flowing white robes, and most of them wore jeans or showed up in shorts and flip flops. I’m talking about all the special people who have been messengers of hope, courage and joy. They have been there for me when I was at my weakest and most vulnerable, extended a helping hand when the road before me was perilous and full of stumbling blocks. Best of all, they restored my faith in humanity after everything that went wrong in my life.
Some angels I have never even met in person, but they manage to convey such joy, wisdom, humour and insight into my own life, without which I could never find the motivation to continue along the path and take another step in the journey, or even risk swerving off the straight and narrow path. My life has been all about taking chances, embarking on adventures that are out of the box and unpredictable for the most part, and for these I have the numerous angels along the way to thank.
The angels in my life are no saints, but it precisely because of their wild and tarnished pasts that their angel-like presence means so much more to me. They have known the meaning of sorrow, of being broken, of getting up and putting the pieces back together again, and of forgiveness.
Several of my angels didn’t just have two legs, but four and meowed. These are the ones who taught me all about unconditional love and the power of kindness. They showed me in their their own language that it is absolutely necessary to trust again after trauma, to believe in someone who offers shelter, comfort, and food. And they taught me that it is perfectly fine to just sit around and do nothing in order to be happy when the world outside is dismally turbulent.
I don’t believe in esoterically intangible angels. I believe in the one that stomped into my heart and became and intrinsic part of my life, touching my soul with the true spirit of Christmas.