Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Missive Reminder

The feather, whence the pen
Was shaped that traced the lives of these good men
Dropped from an angel's wing.
-William Wordsworth

Last week I found a little brown  feather in my bathroom. Easily explained as something that was tracked in on a shoe perhaps. Maybe it came from a pillow or a Christmas ornament? But I don't think so. It appeared next to that strange toothpaste stain on my medicine cabinet mirror. Sightings The one that I wrote about last month that looks like a girl with wings. The stain that my daughter insisted was a fairy's shadow that she left behind while visiting in our dreams.  My 4-year old went on to say that my mirror is the fairy's door so she can go back and forth to see her sister. I am not saying I believed my daughter, but I didn't not believe her either. I love my daughter's imagination. I love the idea so much that I have not cleaned the mirror for a month since the stain appeared.

So last week when the feather appeared, I showed it to my daughter and we placed it in the crack of the stained mirror for safe keeping. I was already researching angels for this month's focus on childlike faith when I came across an Amazon listing for Angel Letters by Sophie Burnham. The book was published in 1991. It sounded familiar. I thought maybe I had read it a long time ago. In fact, I went looking through my old books and there it was-untouched for 20 years. When I opened it, a pressed rose fell out and I found a beautiful inscription from my mom. Her prayer especially for me. That explains why I kept the book all these years. But finding it just one day after the feather? The timing seemed almost divine.

The book is filled with stories from adults who either remembered unexplained encounters from their childhood or admitted to a mystical experience when they were too old to believe in such things. Many of the stories were shared anonymously. People were miraculously healed. Desperate prayers answered. Comfort came just when it was needed most. Lost things were found. Help appeared out of no where.  Sometimes people heard sweet voices. Others felt a warm presence. A few had encounters with angelic looking strangers. One person swears a guy dressed in white changed her flat tire. There was a whole category of letters from ordinary people who simply saw something that made them believe that they are not alone in this world.

I put my feather and stain in that last category. It makes me feel okay with the fact that we don't need to have an explanation for everything. That there is likely more going on than what we can see. I am thankful to Sophie Burnham for creating an opportunity for people to share their stories with out feeling crazy or they are the only ones or that you have to be a naive child to believe. I sat in the dog park and cried as I read the letters. Beautiful, heartfelt letters.

Do you believe in angels?

Here is an excerpt from Sophie Burnham's introduction that feels like she wrote it just for me and my recent experiences.

Since finishing A Book of Angels, I have come to a personal belief that we live surrounded by ghosts, by spirits, not only in our imagination, as metaphors of our past, but also our reality-our departed loved ones watching us. And we are all surrounded by superior beings of great light and magnificence, manifestations of the divine, who want for us poor humans better things than we can possibly imagine. And I believe if we leave them alone and present ourselves like children, in total trust and love and humble gratitude, than they will pour their blessings on us overwhelmingly. They play with us. They look after us. They heal us, touch us, comfort us with invisible warm hands and always they try to give us what we want.

Scientifically they can not be seen. But neither can a black hole in space. But still their presence is known. And perhaps the letters in this volume will serve to remind you of moments when you too have felt an angel's touch or heard a whisper of a wing or received the missive invisibly floating past, to say "We're here" and "Don't forget".

-Sophie Burnham
 Angel Letters 1991

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