Quest For The Afterlife - part 12
In The Presence Of Angels
In the late afternoon of my experience with Imarni, I discovered I was now capable of tottering to the bathroom without assistance. I was still feeling pretty bad but I no longer felt as if I had one foot in the grave. As I was washing my hands, I looked up and came face to face with my reflection. I was shocked. My skin was so ashen it appeared to be gray. My eyes were deep, black hollows with thick smudges beneath, while my cheeks were drawn and sunken looking. Even my lips had no color and seemed to have shrunk to nothing more than thin lines. I couldn't believe how old and haggard I looked.
Looking at myself, the full realization of how close I had come to death hit me like a ton of bricks. I'd had my share of severe illnesses in the past, but I'd never looked so awful. There was no resemblance of the real me. Instead I was staring at the Crypt Keeper. Imarni's admonishments to focus on getting well came back to me. I took them seriously and crawled back into bed, remaining there for the rest of the day. It was probably the first time in my life that I made sure I took my medications on time and followed all orders to the letter.
In the days and weeks that followed, Imarni remained on my mind. The statements I'd previously made to my daughter regarding angels and their possible existence echoed in my head. I wondered where the incident of Imarni's appearance was taking me. Discussions of my experience were held with my friends about what had happened. There was always the possibility that I had imagined the whole thing because of the state of my health. It was a plausible and reasonable possibility, much more reasonable than me suddenly being privy to some heavenly experience. I'm not the religious type, not having a belief in formal religions of any kind.
Once again, my daughter Lindsay made another of her suggestions. Remembering how I had been able to see Scott Peterson once I'd made a concerted effort to do so, she suggested that I do the same thing with angels. Why not open my mind to them and invite them for a conversation? I thought it was a good suggestion, but how to do it? I had no idea of how to go about it.
Most of the literature on the subject of angels working in our lives tells us that we must first invite them and give them permission to interact with us. The literature claims that since we have free will, then we must willfully invite them to take part, as they will not interfere in our decisions without permission. At the time, I was unaware of these ideas. Up until a few days prior, I didn't have an opinion or even an interest in whether angels were real.
Without really knowing what to do, I took the opportunity to issue an invitation one evening when I was all alone. I stretched out on the sofa, closed my eyes and got relaxed doing a little light meditation. It didn't take long for an image to form. There in the distance, surrounded by an arrid and somewhat rocky desert landscape stood a small man. I was surprised that he looked like an arab in his dress. The thought that it was all too cliché crossed my mind.
The man stood there, looking at me. In his hand he was holding the lead rope which had a camel attached to the other end. Irritated that my mind was going for the obvious, I kind of protested mentally against the image I was seeing. I wanted to see my personal angel, if such a thing existed. The image I was seeing was anything but angelic. I was very aware that the man standing there looked exactly like Yassir Arafat! I wasn't happy.
“You've got to be kidding!” I thought to no one in particular and was stunned to see his head slowly bob up and down in affirmation.
“Noooooo!” I mentally cried out, “this isn't what I was expecting.” He nodded again as if to say, “Well, I'm it.”
I groaned to myself. Never in my wildest dreams would I have come up with this image as a picture of what my angel should or would look like. I was so disappointed. Where was the big hunk with the gorgeous flowing hair and the six-pack abs, and the huge fluffy wings? That was what I had in mind. I wanted a gorgeous angel, not some terrorist dissident bringing war and destruction to the chosen people of the Christian Bible.
I had barely finished with my mental whining than I saw a slight flash off to the left of my mental vision. I turned my eyes to see what had caused it. There, standing very close to me, elevated on a rock was what I said I had in mind. He was beautiful with his hair flowing in a breeze. He was wearing some kind of ancient armor, holding a gleaming sword in his hand. The sword was pointed down, resting on the rock, while he held a round shield in his other hand. His wings were huge and white and fluffy.
“Now that's more like it!” I thought happily before launching into a mental conversation about who he was and his purpose for showing himself in the manner chosen.
I learned that his name was Joshua, which really surprised me. First because it too seemed a bit cliché what with the Biblical name and all. And second, because for roughly two weeks prior to this incident, a tune I'd learned in elementary school had been playing through my mind, over and over again. There were days where the constant echo of that tune bouncing around in my brain was enough to make me want to scream. I just couldn't get it out of my mind. I didn't understand why it was coming to me and I was certainly surprised that I even remembered it. The tune was part of an old slave spiritual I had learned in fourth grade. The phrase that kept running through my head was the part about Joshua fighting the battle of Jericho and the walls came a-tumbling down.
I learned that there are many ways our angels try to get our attention. In this particular instance, Joshua was fairly blatant by choosing a song whose lyrics contained his name. I also learned that angels will appear in whatever form is most likely to be recognized or accepted by the individual being given the vision. In other words, if one believes angels to have wings, then that person will be given an image with wings. Angels will take on the appearance best suited to getting their messages across.
He provided me with another tidbit. He was a Warrior Angel. At that time, I didn't even know there was supposed to be any such things. War and warriors seemed so opposite of what one thinks of when thinking about angels. He made me understand that different angels have different functions, though all have the capacity to love and care for all in the human world. Joshua's function was to do battle in my behalf, a protector from the “wars” which I sometimes find myself embroiled in.
It was explained to me that since we come to our lives with specific lessons to learn during the course of that life, angels can not and will not do anything which will hinder our ability to learn the necessary lessons. However, depending on their specific role, angels can lend comfort and guidance when we are faced with these issues. I was assured that the purpose for our existence is not to be punished, but to live with love and bounty. The hardships we sometimes must endure are all in relation to lessons we have come to learn. Many times the hardships we find ourselves facing, are simply results of misguided actions, thoughts, and beliefs. We bring these hardships to ourselves when we are not prepared to deal with a lesson as it unfolds, which in turn may create other lessons by which we may learn.
Seeing Imarni, followed by Joshua was the beginning of comprehending and embracing another understanding of how the human existence is tempered and shaped by interactions with the mysteries of the universe. It isn't by a specific belief system, or a designated religious doctrine that we reach divine redemption. The path to our personal brand of “Heaven” is as varied as the individual souls populating the world.
In addition to learning about the functions of the angels in our lives, I learned that we have many such angels. It is true that we have specific Guardian Angels who are with us our whole lives and some people may have three or four. However, there are many more angels who have certain responsibilities to us. These angels may be with us for extended periods of time, depending on the issue with which we may be dealing. When we have passed our personal period of crisis, they will step aside to allow another angel to take the foreground to assist us on the next leg of our journey.
I compare it to being attended to in a hospital. When our condition requires the expertise and knowledge of a specialist, our general practitioner steps aside to allow the specialist to do his job, though he continually monitors our medical progress. As we mend and move toward better health, we have nurses who take care of helping us with our basic needs. Finally, we may go home, but must have others to remain close to help us to continue toward full health.
It's in a similar fashion that our angels attend to us. There are angels who are specifically there to help us deal with, say a death of a loved one, while another may appear to help us deal with perhaps the loss of a special friendship, and yet another to help us deal with extreme stress related to perhaps our finances. Our Guardian Angels are always present, but will step aside to allow the specialists to help us during extreme times of crisis, while they continue to monitor and guide from a background position.
These two encounters left me with much to digest. As is my way, I took my time about sorting through the information. I often push things to the back of my mind in order to avoid them when there is too much coming at me at once. However, when I tried to do the same with this new information, I couldn't maintain my effort. It seemed to take too much effort to ignore it because there was constantly something to remind me.
No matter where I turned, there was an inference of angels. If I was driving on a highway, I'd pass a billboard with some reference to an angel, either in words or pictures. Watching television would bring more references. Going to a bookstore was like walking into an Angel war zone. With all the books lining the shelves, one would think I could find something to read that didn't contain an angel reference. No matter what section I was in, I would manage to find a book that was either misplaced, or had an image, or a phrase on the cover which would immediately bring my experiences to the forefront of my mind.
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I was still struggling to not think about my angel encounters when I went to work about a week after I had seen Joshua. That day was the day I finally decided to confront the issue. We were very busy so I hopped behind the counter to help my cashier ring out the customers, many of whom were regulars. Finally down to the last two, I scanned the items of the little elderly lady standing there. I'd never seen her before, but she was beaming a smile at me as I took care of her purchases.
Her total came to a dollar more than she had with her. I don't usually reach into my own pocket in these instances simply because I would be broke if I did it for everyone. However, I did just that and told her not to worry about it as I handed her the bag.
“You're an angel,” she stated smiling wide. “God Bless you.” And she went on out the door. I didn't react to her statement. After all, is was a common enough reaction to an uncommon kindness.
The lady waiting patiently behind the elderly one stepped up, not saying a word while I scanned and bagged her items. As I handed her the bag, she looked directly into my eyes and asked, “Do you believe in angels?”
I was surprised by her question, not thinking she had been paying attention to the previous customer. I nodded my head and stated that yes, I did believe in them. I fumbled around with straightening up the counter, hoping she would head out the door.
“Have you ever seen one?”
That got my attention. Why was she asking me this?
“Yes, I have,” I said without stoping what I was doing, silently continuing to hope that this would not burgeon into some long drawn out discussion with me required to relate my experiences.
“So you've been called,” she was moving toward the glass doors without looking at me, intent on leaving the store. She turned in the doorway, “There's something you must do.” She was gone without an explanation.
I didn't know what I could possibly be expected to do. Was I supposed to run around telling everyone what I had seen? Not likely to happen. Was I supposed to join some religious group or church? Also not likely to happen. I was working myself to a pitch, thinking about all the things I wasn't likely to do. Finally I made a decision to not do anything other than to have an open mind. I chose to stop focusing on all the actions I wasn't willing to take, and just let whatever happened to happen. I also decided that if I allowed myself to be lead by events rather than fighting them, I might actually discover I liked the path I was being placed upon.
I wasn't expecting for events to take me down the road soon to be presented.....
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