May 11th, 2010 by A.G.J.
A friend of mine is writing a book on angels and had asked me if I’d be willing to share some of my experience. Here’s what I wrote:
Do angels exist? Yes.
Have I ever seen one? Yes.
What was it like? Watching Sean Penn in MILK or seeing Rickie Lee Jones live. I just knew I was in the presence of more than I was in the presence of – like when an impossibly high note is hit and held by a gospel singer or a painting recaptures a childhood dreamland. In that moment, the door of possibility doesn’t just crack. It swings wide open.
There are all kinds of angels, pilgrimage-ing our planet. Each of us has the capacity and ability to be an angel in another’s life. Anytime our focus is on someone else and our intention is to help, we literally become an instrument of the divine. God works his/her grace and mercy through us. I’ve been on the receiving end of this love many times, whether it’s the kind stranger who holds a door or the nurse who’s bedside manner means more than morphine. Angels materialize anywhere and everywhere.
While in Jerusalem at the age of 30, I found myself in a cafe at 10pm. I had been guided there from my hotel room. I followed an intuition that quietly insisted: go. I walked in, found a seat at the bar, when suddenly (without my seeing him walk in) an older man, at once ancient and child-like, sat near me, only a stool away. He had soft-looking white hair, burnt olive skin and eyes a deep ocean blue. He radiated a serenity and joy I recognized but seldom remember experiencing. He looked so familiar.
“Hello” I said.
“Hello” he smiled.
“Do I… (know you),” I’d wanted to ask.
“Yes.” He answered before I’d finished my sentence.
“Yes.” He nodded gently.
“What’s your name?” I asked, offering my hand.
“Moses.” He replied, taking it.
We proceeded to sit and share that space for a bit. This may sound strange, but I didn’t feel compelled to talk with him. I just wanted to sit by him. Words weren’t necessary. I was in the presence of an angel.
Though baptized, I had not been raised with religion and, in many ways, I’m grateful. It allows me to come to the stories and characters of the bible, when I am ready. Meeting Moses was the beginning of a deep and powerful mystical revelation. For the next few days in Israel, I basically stopped eating and sleeping, and the entire world cracked open before me like some cosmic egg, every moment illuminated by deep meaning and pure, delicious love. The universe winked and waved every chance I gave it.
I remember sitting in a restaurant with our group of about 15. There was a swirl of activity amidst the din of patrons’ chatter. Forks and spoons were clinking, waiters moved about taking orders and reciting specials. Amidst the cacophony, I sat in an oceanic stillness, enraptured by the glass of water before me. It was a gift I had not asked for, and it undid me. Barely could I raise the glass to my mouth. It was as though all the secrets of creation were revealed in that solitary cup.
Maybe this sounds crazy.
Some people thought so and I was hospitalized, diagnosed mentally ill, and prescribed a lot of medications. It was a confusing time because I thought I’d awoken at last, only to discover I’d been thrust deeply inside a nightmare. But, angels illuminate the dark and it was there that I found a path home to my true self. It has taken years to walk, but what was once a desperate crawl, has evolved into a thrilling climb back up the mountain, of my own clear-eyed truth.
My beloved corgi, Sydney, waddled patiently and exuberantly by my side through 12 years of growth, marriage, and children. He licked my tears in the dark and got me out of bed in the morning. He never complained or judged. His love was unconditional. Of all the pharmacies, psychiatrists, and psycho-pharmacologists, no one was more “full of medicine” than my Sydney. He was an angel on this earth and, though his body is no more, his gentle being infuses all I do.
Although I didn’t always, I cherish my Israel experience. The very thing that appeared to illicit a complete “breakdown” actually planted the seeds of an inevitable “breakthrough”. Powerful and creative though they may be, I believe our minds are not the foundation of our existence. I am not defined by my thoughts. I am capable of much more than I think and, when I connect with that deeper truth, I begin to experience the angel within. Her capacity to love and heal astounds me. She radiates a breathtaking peace and fearless love. And, when I am able to put my life in her hands, I transcend my own limitations and experience life’s deepest joys. I marvel at the mystery and revel in its truth:
I am my own miracle.
We all are.