Copyright 2012 by JT Lewis
It was a dark and stormy night. I’ve always wanted to use that line in a story, and in fact I was thinking that exact thought when it happened. Driving down route one that night I was listening to old rock on the radio and just trying to see out of the windshield. As I rounded a curve the headlights suddenly revealed a deer standing smack in the middle of the road, hypnotized by my headlights.
I cut the wheel hard to the left and the car started spinning counter clockwise; somehow spinning right around the deer during the five complete revolutions that the car and I made. I finally got the car stopped, ending up perpendicular to the highway, my hands clamped on the wheel like steel talons. Taking deep breaths to get my heart rate down, I marveled at my good fortune at getting through the ordeal with no damage to life or limb. Even the car and the buck were unscratched by the incident; I guess lady luck was smiling on us all.
I didn’t realize the change at first, but it gradually dawned on me that the night was getting lighter. As I looked to my left I was blinded through the rain-soaked window by the brightest most invasive light I can ever remember. Mesmerized, I just sat there watching the light grow bigger and brighter until it seemed to fill my soul with blinding whiteness. In those final moments I was overcome with an amazing calm, noticing how quiet everything had become as the glow enveloped me in a warm blanket of apparent safety.
Then the semi struck the door…
I don’t know if waking up accurately described my next conscious thought, but suddenly I was standing in a room with a warm fireplace burning on the far wall. I felt cold and wet and moved toward the welcome source of heat, noticing the neat and tidy furnishings carefully placed around the room.
“Hello Gabriel” a voice from the corner of the room clearly spoke, although it seemed more in my mind than felt in my ears. I looked in the direction of the voice but saw nothing, save for a small white wisp that was barely visible. “May I call you Gabe?” the voice floated out again, this time from around the fire.
I said “Gabe will be fine” as I scoured the room for the source of the disembodied voice. I had noticed an accent to the words that I could not place, so I added “you’re not from around here are you?”
Laughter filled the room and seemed to be coming from everywhere at once. “I’ve always enjoyed your outlook on things, it is indeed a real treat to finally meet you” stated the stranger.
“I would probably be glad to meet you too if I knew where you were” I stated as I continued to scan the room for the source of the voice. It should be a pretty creepy situation considering the circumstances, but I felt very at ease and my gut said this place was all right.
“I’m sorry” said the voice, this time from behind me. “I always forget that I need to change so humans’ can see me.” Turning slowly, I was confronted by a man of average build and short dark hair with the bluest eyes I have ever witnessed. He was dressed in jeans, a white long sleeved shirt buttoned all the way up and a dark vest. His smile was infectious and exhibited pure joy as he rose from the chair he was sitting on and stood with his arms clasped behind his back.
He looked down and distractedly fingered a button on his vest. “I do love a waist coat but normally never get the chance to wear one.” He seemed caught up in the moment as he continued to admire the silky cloth.
He suddenly glanced to his left before again facing me, almost embarrassed. “Forgive my wandering mind Gabe; I’ve just set up the board, would you care to engage in a game of chess?”
He waved his hand in the direction of the chair as he continued. “We have much to discuss when you get comfortable.”
“I feel like I’ve been run through the wringer, do you have any coffee?” I questioned him, uncertain at that point as to how long it had been since I’d had any.
“Certainly,” he said, “it’s already sitting next to the chair, along with some cinnamon rolls, which I have to admit I’ve grown quite fond of.”
I looked over and the coffee was indeed there, steam curling out of it just like in the old magazine ads. I realized that moments before when I had walked by that very chair, there had been no coffee or chess board set up, and the surprising thing was that it didn’t seem to surprise me.
I sat down and grabbed the cup and sipped a swallow to test the temperature. It was indeed hot but it didn’t burn. As I continued to drink in the best tasting brew I had ever tasted, I became aware of the fact that the cup seemed always full.
“You get this at the A&P,” I questioned, “I might like to pick up some of this brand.”
Again the all-encompassing laughter filled the room, his smile beaming brighter than ever.
“So,” I tentatively began, “you seem to know a lot about me, but all I know about you so far is that you play chess, serve the best coffee I have ever tasted, and seem to be somewhat of a magician.”
“You also have very good taste in furniture, a love of cinnamon, and an infectious laugh.”
“You seem to me to be one of the most confident fellows I’ve ever met. The problem is that I’m pretty good at remembering people, and I don’t remember meeting you before, although I do feel that I know you somehow. It’s been a pretty long night and I seem to be somewhat confused, so if you don’t mind my asking, who the heck are you”?
His eyes twinkled as he looked on me from the other chair, hesitating but a moment to finish a bite of his cinnamon roll before he spoke.
“I am your tutelary or guide, assigned to protect you on your life’s journey.” Licking his fingers as he finished his roll, he finally added, “You would probably call me a guardian angel.”
I sat there with my perfect coffee in this perfect room, talking to a man who I suddenly realized also seemed perfect. I can’t remember ever being hit with a revelation of such magnitude, yet it made perfect sense and I easily remained calm.
I was at a loss however as to where to go from here.
“I see you have many questions” he continued, “so let me try to fill in some spaces for you. I have been with you since you came into this world, actually before even that.”
“My job, as it were, is to try to guide you in your life when needed, and to protect you when you are in danger.”
“You were in eminent danger tonight, so I pulled you out of your car and brought you here.”
“Where is here” I asked, “It reminds me of someplace.”
“Very good Gabe, this is your living room, but in your future, or at least one of the options of a living room in your future should you remain on the route you have chosen.”
“That is always your choice by the way.”
“You are not actually here of course, but this is one of your heavens in your mind as you conceive it.”
“Everyone’s heaven is a little different, based on your life experiences and likes. After all, what one person considers heaven may be a hell to another. Consider this more of a way-stop on your journey.”
Taking everything in, I was still highly confused, but decided to step back and take it slow.
“You know my name, how come I don’t know yours,” I asked. “Seems like we are getting kinda chummy here and a man outta know who he is dealing with in matters as important as this.” “Very good point, however the human mind will not wrap itself around our language. We have actually talked many times in your dreams, you do not remember because you are not supposed to remember.”
“Nevertheless I have told you my name before. Your mind will recognize it as a name when I say it, but even later in the dream you will not be able to recall it no matter how hard you try. Give me a name you like and we will go that route, you are the only person I am concerned with anyway.”
Thinking about it I came to the same conclusion as I considered my options. Michael was my favorite angel name so I mentioned it to my host. Of course, my absolute favorite angel name was already taken.
“Michael huh, I like it!” he grinned as he stood and walked over to my chair. Reaching out his hand, he grasped mine in a firm grip as he said matter-of-factly, “Hello Gabriel, my name is Michael, and it is indeed a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance.”
Michael returned to his seat and settled in to his own cup of coffee. “This is one of the best thing you have going, coffee is truly a miracle. I don’t get it near often enough. Oftentimes, if you could see me you would find me hanging around your coffee pot just taking in the aroma.”
I smiled at the thought and nodded in agreement, but had something on my mind and decided it was time to spit it out. “You mentioned a journey earlier, and a choice, what was that about?” I asked.
Turning serious, Michael got to the point. “You have been brought here as I stated before, because you were in imminent danger. My job of course is in part to protect you when I can, but I do not have the power to protect you from everything that happens.”
“When we saw that your life was going to be ended tonight, and because of whom you are, we made a decision to bring you here so that you had a chance to make the decision.”
Sliding forward and leaning elbows on knees he continued.
“You see, it is not your scheduled time to leave this world, but because humans have free will, we do not always have control over when the actual event may happen.”
“We could not foresee that Jake, the driver of the truck that hit you, would drive an extra shift tonight. He has been under a lot of stress lately; behind on his bills and such, and he thought he could help his family with the extra money. Jake was however very tired and fell asleep at the wheel, causing our current predicament.”
Standing up, Michael started pacing in front of our chairs, obviously mulling over how to continue the story. I however had no trouble thinking of things to say as I was reeling from all of the information he had laid on my lap in the last few minutes.
“Hold on a minute,” I said, halting Michael’s pacing. “Just what do you mean by ‘because of who I am’, I’m certainly nobody important, in fact I’m about as normal a guy as you can get.”
Michael’s lips curled into a smile and he again took his seat, looking me in the eye as he addressed my question.
“Not true Gabriel, not true at all.”
“God is very pleased with you. You have faith, and you are honest and hard working.”
“You help people sometimes to the detriment of yourself, and you love with all of your heart.”
“You are one of His success stories, and the fact that you don’t know that just confirms that fact beyond all doubt.”
Now I was confused, how could I be a success story? I didn’t even attend any church.
“Church attendance isn’t required,” Michael stated, apparently reading my mind.
“Oh he wouldn’t mind if you went to church once in awhile, but some people need church, while others are absolutely fine without it. He knows and understands perfectly your dissatisfaction with church hierarchy. He is none too pleased with most of them himself.”
“Ok, ok, say I’m a model citizen, what is the choice I have to make then,” I asked, finding the mind reading thing a little annoying.
“Seems to me it’s either my time or it’s not, either way I appear to have kicked the bucket.”
“I know your patience is wearing thin,” he said, “humor me a minute more if you will while I try to explain myself.”
“While I can’t protect you from everything as I said, I do have the power to alter certain situations.”
“For instance, I can move you to the other side of the car, allowing you to live, but I would not be able to completely shield you from harm. In this situation you would end up being badly hurt and in much pain, requiring days of suffering and weeks before you are back to normal. You would most likely need a cane at least some of the time for the rest of your life.”
“You do have a choice though; your other option is that you can stay here. It is indeed a heavenly place, much more than you can even fathom. You have earned a spot and God would be more than happy to grant that should you choose. There is work to do here too, and you would be assigned a job, but it would not be a job like you have ever experienced before. Doings heaven’s work is all joy and you would indeed take pleasure in it.”
“Isn’t it a little late for a choice?” I questioned, “We’ve been here at least a half an hour, my body surely long dead by now.”
“Not at all Gabe, our time is much different than yours, the accident is still happening as we speak.”
I tried to wrap my head around all of this before I again spoke, but failing that continued our talk.
“Ok, I’m apparently still alive, but will suffer a lot if I stay. And the alternative is peace and happiness for the rest of my life. Doesn’t seem to be the hardest choice I’ve ever had to make, what’s the catch?”
“The catch is that there are things coming in the future that could definitely use your attention. There are people that are suffering that could use your help, there are criminals on the horizon that you will be instrumental in bringing to justice… and one other thing that may be important enough for you to stay for.”
Seeing my questioning look, Michael continued.
“I am not at liberty to reveal the true nature of any of the future events, and as you now know things could change anyway. But I am authorized to reveal to you one last thing that may affect your decision.”
“You see, in the not too distant future, Betty’s life will be in danger.”
“Well, I had already decided to go back anyway, but no way I leave with Betty needing me if I have a choice”
I leaned back and continued to sip on the heavenly coffee, inhaling the aroma and enjoying every drop.
“How long do I have before I have to be back?” I asked.
“Oh, we have another twenty minutes or so before you absolutely have to be back,” said Michael. “I have to say I had guessed that you would stay, but I am curious as to why you turned down heaven so quickly. Don’t you like the accommodations?”
“Oh sure they’re swell, this will make a great retirement, I’m just not ready for that yet. I guess I feel like I have more to do and commitments to keep, not the least of which is mine to Betty.”
“Also,” I said deviously, “I kinda figured that you wouldn’t be staying with me once I’m settled in here. I’m sort of starting to get to like having you around.”
Joyous laughter again filled the room as my angel leaned back in his chair and clasped his hands together.
“You are correct,” he said, “I would be re-assigned to another soul after you got settled. I have to admit, I believe I would miss you too!”
“I do have a couple of questions since we have a few minutes,” I said.
“First… will I remember this, or will this all be a big zero in my memory?”
Michael picked up his coffee before answering. “I can’t say for sure.”
“The human mind will sometimes retain these types of meetings, other times it will be buried deep within.”
“Oftentimes, it will come out later in bits and pieces, or under hypnosis as you can well attest to. I truly believe that if you try to keep it forward in your mind you will retain it. I certainly don’t have a problem with you remembering our meeting.”
“Good,” I said, “I will do my best to keep it in my head. The second question involves whether I will be able to talk to you back in normal life. I always consult with people in the know if a situation is beyond my knowledge, seems to me you would make a good consultant on some matters.”
Smiling, he piped in “rule number two if I’m not mistaken” as I nodded in agreement.
“I listen to you constantly and try to help in ways that may not be evident without you knowing it is me. We do talk periodically in dreams, but you do not remember these for the most part, but sometimes I believe I do you some good in these.”
“As to direct communication back and forth, that is very hard. The best way I know of is for you to concentrate right before you fall asleep. Ask me a question in your head, or just ask me to come to you to discuss something. I will be there, and I will be listening, but normally you will not be able to hear my answers.”
“I have heard of other’s charges trying for years before they achieve success at this.”
“As to what to listen for… initially if you hear anything at all it will be of a very light volume. It may sound more like a hum or buzzing to your ears than actual words. Of course, it is not really noise at all but communication through your mind. I will also reveal to you that I will let you know I am there by showing you bright colors or images for you to see; this is something I have always done by the way.”
“So that’s you huh?” I marveled, “you are quite talented.”
Again the all encompassing laughter filled the room as he stood up and walked over to my chair. I also stood, knowing it was time to re-start my life and continue to fulfill my obligations.
To say that it would be easy to leave this bit of heaven would be a damn lie. I was pretty sure that even though it didn’t feel like that now, I would be plenty scared when I got back. But thoughts such as these were for the future, and right now I was saying goodbye to a friend.
I held out my hand toward my new friend, a friend that had always been. He held his out in return, clasping mine with a grasp that was both strong and gentle at once. His other hand he wrapped around the back of mine while saying, “Gabriel Celtic, it has truly been my honor to spend this time with you and to assure you that you are not alone in this world.”
I replied that I too was honored to be given this chance to see things more clearly. Reaching out with my left hand and pulling his right shoulder to mine in a “man hug,” I then stepped back and said I was ready.
“Right,” he said, “ok, you have an idea of what is coming. Please try to relax your body, but bite down with your mouth, maybe we can minimize your injuries somewhat.”
I did as I was told, trying to burn the memory of this day in my mind.
“Ok, here we go, look into my eyes, and remember, have faith.”
Again following orders, I looked into his eyes, trying to remember all the rules for the “transfer.” His eyes slowly turned to white light, starting with a small speck that grew to a blinding white light that seemed to be pushing me against the wall.