Wednesday, December 17, 2008
My friend Gary wrote about his niece's relationship to angels this week, a lovely post, perfect for this time of year.
I believe in angels, do you? I'm not sure they're always white robed and have wings, though, even if that's how they're mostly depicted. According to the cosmology of Reya, those white winged dudes are a race of bird people who live in the lower atmosphere. Occasionally we catch a glimpse of them, flitting around the clouds. The bird people are beneficent, to be sure, but somewhat different than the angels I know.
In Jewish mysticism it's believed that angels come in and out of being to fulfill specific tasks. Sometimes their lifespans last hundreds of years, sometimes they're only needed for a few seconds. Their size varies greatly, too. They can be as small as a butterfly but are also said to sometimes grow to one-third the size of the earth. Whoa. That would be one hulkin' angel, wouldn't it?
I love every one of the paintings of Jacob fighting the angel. In some of them, it almost looks like Jacob and the angel are dancing. In others it's clear that a struggle is going on. I've had experiences like that, battling against the best of myself (for reasons I can't imagine). My sense of the angel's role in these circumstances is one of extreme patience, just holding me so I can't hurt myself until my tirade or tantrum has passed.
Any time I think about angels, the image of Bruno Ganz in Wings of Desire comes to mind, wearing a black trench coat, his hair slicked back, listening compassionately to the troubled thoughts of we humans. It's a beautiful film, well worth seeing again, or if you haven't seen it, maybe you should put it at the top of your Netflix list.
Images of angels appear everywhere at Christmas, but I think the angels themselves are always around, always available in case we need them. In fact, I'm not sure what we would do without them.
Thanks, angelic presences, for hanging around, for taking such good care of us. I deeply appreciate your goodness! Thank you.