Story by Joe Walker
Jon is only 8 years old, but already our son has worn out a legion of guardian angels.
There was the time when he was 3 that he climbed up our van and onto the open garage door. Anita peeked into the garage and noticed that the door was open and was about to push the button to close it automatically when she heard Jon’s cheery, “Hi Mommy!” from up above. If she had closed that door with the little boy on top of it . . . well, it makes me shudder to even think about it. Not to mention what it must have done to his guardian angel.
Then there was the time about two years later when he and a friend somehow found their way into the trunk of our car and closed themselves up in it. To this day, we’re not exactly sure how long the two boys were in there. Jon told us he prayed and asked God to send someone to help them, which explains why Jon’s big brother suddenly began to worry about what the boys were doing and started looking for them – inexplicably anxiously. They were sweaty, red-eyed and hoarse from calling for help when we finally found them.
That probably goes double for their guardian angels.
Then there was the incident that took place just a couple of weeks ago during a church service. I won’t go into detail — years from now he may be looking for work or running for president, and I don’t want this to be dredged up and used against him. Let’s just say Jon’s mother had an experience with him that brought to mind Bill Cosby’s parental axiom: “I brought you into this world, I can take you out of it!”
Angel, or no angel.
Now, I’m not exactly sure how this guardian angel thing works. I don’t know if it’s an assignment for only the most trusted and worthy of the heavenly hosts, or if it’s penance for those who need a little fine tuning before they’re ready for their eternal reward (I’m thinking the Jon gig has to fit into the latter category). Whatever it is, my family seems to have been blessed with the finest flock of angels ever assembled — for which I am profoundly grateful.
But I don’t understand the inconsistency of the system. Why is it that Jon seems to be so carefully and conscientiously protected, while other children put themselves in the exact same situations with disastrous consequences?
Please don’t misunderstand — I’m not complaining. I’m grateful beyond words for the life, health and safety of my youngest son. Every night when I tuck him into bed, I stroke his hair, touch his face and thank God for the privilege of being able to do so. But I also feel a little guilty knowing that there are other parents who are tucking their children into hospital beds, or who must contend with the sorrow of empty beds. And I can’t help but wonder what happened to those guardian angels. Were they busy? Distracted? Not paying attention? Or just not very good at their jobs?
God only knows.
And I guess that’s sort of where we have to leave it — in His hands. Sometimes it’s hard to embrace God’s will and trust His answers — especially when His answers just bring up more questions. But faith is not for wimps. Although there is great power in faith as a causative force in our lives and in the world around us, perhaps its greatest manifestation is the courage it gives us to cope with life’s vicissitudes and apparent inequities.
Including the odd inattentive guardian angel.