Have you ever had one of those days (or years) when it feels like your worst nightmares are being played out? Or perhaps a supporting actor in some “B movie” that just can’t catch a break and the brunt of everyone’s pitiful whispers? Maybe your respites are short-lived, and the challenges numerous? I get it. Believe me, I do. I have a bit of an unflattering reputation for untimely and bizarre falls and accidents. And no, I am no thrill seeker nor attention junkie looking for the next pity party.
On the contrary, I would prefer to slip into a quiet, predictable, and banal existence most days. This status, I have found, makes me the brunt of good-hearted humor from family members. For instance, there was the perfectly timed meme of a bubble-wrapped woman sent just before our last family vacation.
If such a thing as a chic bubble suit were available, wherein I did not appear to be a walking blowfish, I would happily consider purchasing it? An adorable matching chapeau would complete my ensemble and protect what’s left of my grey matter.
A few weeks ago, I was praying in the Church by myself around 3:30pm. I like to stop in and say a Chaplet of Divine Mercy during my workday. I knelt first for a few decades and then eased into the chair behind me. I continued praying when suddenly, my chair slid out from under me and dropped me to the ground, but not before whacking me in the head as I fell.
To say I was stunned is an understatement. How did this happen? How do you fall sitting down?
I was not rocking the chair nor in the process of sitting down. I was already seated when this bizarre event occurred. I’ve got to say, more than my other mishaps-this one made me mad. I literally shouted out to the empty Church, “Really, God? Come on! I’m in here praying!”
I don’t know why this strange occurrence caught me off guard. You would think I would be used to this stuff by now. Thank goodness no one else was around to observe this nonsense, minus all of the heavenly host. I imagine my guardian angel is getting used to this kind of business with me. There was no audible giggle from the dark angelic host either. It literally felt like the chair was jerked out from under me. Seems impossible, and improbable but there you have it, all the ugly humiliating details.
I wish I could say it was my first fall in the Church. It was not. One Saturday morning after Mass a few years back, I was blowing out the Christmas candles. The whole wreath assembly was only inches from the edge of the stairs and wedged between a nativity set that spanned three steps and a pile of perfectly placed poinsettias. I began to lose my balance in such a tight spot and had to make a split-second decision, fall sideways, damage my already beat-up left brain, or attempt to control what I could. I decided to propel myself forward, jumping with enough momentum to hopefully clear three steps. I almost made it too, but my heels slide like skates on the marble floor, landing me hard amongst the poinsettias and only slightly splitting my head. That unplanned stunt came with an audience of the lingering after Mass crowd. It must have been something to look up from prayer, only to see me landing on my back among the flowers. This is where the bubble suit and hood may have come in handy?
About a year later, one of the regular daily Mass attendees appeared to be waiting to talk with me. I recognized him but did not know his name. He started off by saying that the “priest told him he would know the right time to tell me something.” My curiosity piqued; he had my rapt attention. Apparently, he can see supernatural things at times, a charism called the Discernment of Spirits. He asked me if I remembered that morning of my fall a year previous. I assumed he was one of the lucky folks in the Church when it happened. He told me how he “observed an angel come out of nowhere and cushion my fall as I was going down.” Therefore, I was not hurt worse. He told me that my head landed alongside his wings.
Thanking him, I was taken aback and deeply touched by what he had shared. I felt great comfort from his words. I was again reminded how God is so close to each of us, constantly loving and protecting us. This mighty God who willed the universe into existence is never too busy for me and my regular nosedives. It also helped answer questions I pondered regarding my unfortunate encounter with a car a few years ago that almost killed me. Why weren’t my injuries much worse? Why were my legs intact when the steel rod of the bike was snapped? No internal damage, just a bunch of broken bones, bruises, and road rash. Perhaps once again, there was an angelic buffer to minimize the impact on my body that day?
I have only shared this story with a handful of people. It is precious and personal to me. Do we realize that we too have a Guardian Angel, given to us since our very beginnings of existence? How many times have we been guided, protected, and assisted without knowing it? Our Angel, who sees the face of God, is with us always. Do we call on him? Thank him? Ask for his intercession and help?
“Our guardian angels are our most faithful friends because they are with us day and night, always and everywhere. We ought often to invoke them.”
~ St. John Vianney
You might question their existence due to the catastrophes in your own life. Why were you not spared from any of it? Why aren’t we saved from all pain and misery? This is where God’s Permissive or Provident Will comes in. There is, in fact, a purpose for everything in God’s plan. Even suffering plays a part in our salvation and purification. We are reminded that His ways are not our ways. (cf. Is55:8) I believe if we could see the constant attentiveness given to us through God’s Providential love, it would blow our minds! Our own ever-present Angel stands ready to guide and guard us at every moment of our lives. We have no idea how many disasters have been averted or illnesses that were lightened. The Feast of the Guardian Angels is October 2nd! Blessed be God for His gracious, watchful care of us.
Thank you, my dear guardian angel, for your attentive presence in my life and in the lives of those I love.