Every now and then beautiful angels appear — Adele Basheer
I don’t think of myself as superstitious, but I am inclined to watch for signs of magic in my life, little confirmations that I am not alone and that I don’t need to be afraid. I do this when I am challenged and stressed over something that seems overwhelming. I turn to a good book, or a beautiful piece of art, or to nature itself for my inspiration. My effort may take awhile. When I am distressed I am often the one in the way of discovering a different view. I am too immersed in my opinion of things to see otherwise. They say pride goeth before the fall. Pride is the worst of all barriers to self-revelation. When you know it all you simply miss out.
A know-it-all entering a garden will either be transformatively shaken by a splendid scene of nature in action or oblivious to the gift given. Cases in point. Talismans are considered objects to possess magical powers, inanimate, like a stone, or statues of angels or young girls holding a flower or animals curled in sleep. But talismans to me are also animate, living reminders. For example, a white butterfly to me is a sign of good luck. It passes my way and I take a deep breath of thanks. The red breasted hummingbird flutters beside my ear. I at first startle, then smile, to its testament of perfection. It usually flies by when I need a jolt to senses. The white rose — purity like none other — but when you also think of the endless color options that are available for roses, you wonder who had a hand in this? I don’t see these examples when I am stressed out. I see weeds and more work and a host of other dilemmas that I would rather do without. It is only when something out of the ordinary shakes the roots of my complacency and complaint that I consider a different possibility.
In my visit this weekend with my brother Wayne and his wife, Terri, I am faced with the powerful fact that not only am I fortunate but equally stymied by how far my stupidity can go. Take Terri. My brother goes to work like I go to work but work for her is going to dialysis four days a week. She lost total kidney function several years back. She is not a good candidate for a kidney transplant. She has a disease called scleroderma, which hardens the organs. We thought we were about to lose Terri a couple of times, but today she thrives. She has tremendous physical challenges, but each day she faces them with courage and great attitude. When you think of what she has faced and how far she has come, you begin to wonder who could go first. She could outlive all of us. What would I gain by thinking otherwise? Nothing. The truth is life is tenuous. This day may be the last. What are we going to do with it? Bellyache about what we don’t have? Or take a stroll, perhaps smell a rose, or curl up with our dog? Terri does all of these with great appreciation for what she has. She knows life is tenuous and treats it as such. Those of us less challenged are the fools.
I have more than my share of angel statues in the garden. They are placed at entrances or beneath a bush or on a bench. I am drawn to them like many gardeners because not only am I certain they exist, but seeing them reminds me that there is something greater than ourselves at work. The garden itself in all its color and vibrant life seals the deal. Life goes further, however, beyond these well placed reminders. Terri, for one, reminds me of this. She is like that perennial flower I see on my stroll. Unique and colorful, constantly in rebloom, a miraculous reminder of life in renewal. In a way, she is one of my talismans. She is magical. Like an angel.