By John Miltenberger
My eyes opened as if I had been sleeping for a long time. The light was bright, cleanly intense but without pain. There was no need to squint and my eyes looked back into my being with a reflected love that seemed to say “It’s alright, we’ve been made for this.”
I was aware that I wore a quiet, joy-filled calm, like a custom made garment. It was all mine, it had been lovingly fashioned just for me by unseen hands responding to an unseen heart. Life flowed over me and through my every pore with an intensity unimaginable, and yet it was not more or less; there was no comparison. I became aware that there were no “ups” or “downs” in mood, instead, my heart seemed to change shape as any intensity of feeling occurred, but with no smaller or bigger sense, only the accommodation to fit the occasion. Like a thoroughbred engine, my heart didn’t beat, but rather transmitted LIFE!
The angel approached, and even though I was aware he(?) was my first angel, it seemed so natural to see him that it made all my previous human contacts seem awkward.
“How was your trip?”, he asked. At first, the question seemed odd because I realized it required memory of a past life, and anything “back there” already seemed like a dream, or a poorly written child’s book. “I think it was a long trip.”, I said, not really wanting to concentrate anymore on the answer; it all seemed so long ago, and so irrelevant.
“Let’s walk together”, said he with a big smile. “This is the first time we’ve been together like this, and I’ve waited for this time with so much delight.” “But we’ve been together before, when I was on the trip, weren’t we?” “Yes, many times.”, he answered. “I think I knew that!”, said I.
“I feel like I’ve always known you, and you me.” Again a smile, almost at a hidden joke, “You have, but on your trip, the best you could do was hope and pray, but now we’re together!” “How long will we be together?”, I asked him. The angel looked almost puzzled, then he answered, “There is no goodbye here. That only happened on the trip.”
As he began to talk about my trip, he related events from his viewpoint. There were no loose pieces, no missing pieces, and no need for me to “inquire”. More importantly, there was no tension or angst as the events unfolded. And it wasn’t as if the music of his voice or the eloquence of his recitations kept them at bay; they simply weren’t a factor!
I was able to tell him some things I remembered from my experience, but mostly I felt like a child – what had mattered so much to me then, and the things that had seemed so critical, seemed silly to relate; they just didn’t matter. There was no embarrassment or shame, only an increasing gratitude to the One Who had called me by His Name.
I could feel my heart expanding to fit the gratitude exploding within me, and the growing shape felt like a song that kept getting more and more beautiful. He said, “That’s the part only He can fill, and He made it within you, and He made it for Himself!” Huge smile – well, of course, what could be more normal!
“During your trip, did you fear often, did you worry very much?”, he asked. I knew he didn’t really need to ask, but just wanted to hear me say it – “Both, and often.”, I said. “Did any of it enrich or increase your life?” “No. None of it mattered. All it ever did was rob me of the shadow of life that I had been given, and the hope of life in Him.”, I admitted. He smiled knowingly. “I’ve always wondered why humans do that.”, he said, “But I wasn’t on the trip like you were, even though I was with you by assignment.”
“Did you know”, he asked, “that when you worshiped Him I worshiped with you?” Now I was shocked. “He always listened to us worship Him.”, he said, “And he always loved it!” “But I must admit, I never knew what you would ask for or say!” With this, he gave me what must have been his best smile – just between good friends!
“I was a mystery to you?”, I asked with a gasp…he laughed with an enriching music, like audible food – “In many ways, you still are. After all, you were created in His image, we were not. That’s one reason why I’ve so desired to be together with you here. By knowing you better, I will know Him better!”
“You’ve said there are no goodbyes here?” “Yes”, he answered. “Well, how long are you assigned to me? Aren’t you going to get re-assigned to another traveler?” With another quizzical look, he said, “The calling of God is irrevocable. Didn’t you read that?” My heart changed shape again with his answer. “We are together forever, and it’s my great honor to serve you – friendship is also service.”, he said.
And it began to seem that with nearly everything he said to me my heart changed shape, and the feeling of it was indescribably delicious! “That never stops either”, he said with a day-breaking smile. “Being the servant and friend to a Priest of God is a high honor.”, he said, and he lowered his eyes in humility and gratitude to the One Who had called out his assignment at creation.
I was about to ask about my meeting with Him, as I felt it was imminent, but the angel continued to keep his eyes down, and then he lowered his entire body. Turning to see what he could see, I encountered a light that was so bright it burned through every cell in my being.
I was unaware of moving, yet found myself face down on the ground. A life imparting fear held me paralyzed until He said in a familiar voice, “You may stand before Me.” The angel helped me up without rising or raising his eyes.
“We have much to talk about.”, He said, and His life was in His words. “My Life was always in My words, wasn’t it?”, He asked with a smile that felt like the summer sun on my face – rather into my face.
“Oh my Lord, I cried, I doubted far too much! Forgive me!” “That’s all behind us, and it’s all under My Blood.”, He said as He enfolded me in His arms. “I have waited for you to finish your trip with much excitement!”
Then He said, “You were always my favorite!!”
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