From a young age, I have believed in the existence of angels. Certainly no expert, I just knew they were there for me and for everyone. I see them as spiritual beings, highly conscious guides, who love us and want only the best for us. Gary Quinn explains in his wonderful book, May the Angels Be with You, that angels are also messengers, "the wires of the universe—they afford us a means of spiritual communication…They can be people we've loved on this earth who have passed over, or they can be spiritual beings we haven't known."
Appearing in any form God decides, they can communicate with us through a song, a fragrance, a verbal suggestion, a commanding voice or a dream. With powers and abilities far beyond ours, they lead us to a greater understanding of our own capacity to love; they also help us see how transformative the power of love can be. For me, angels can also be people—strangers, family, and friends—whose lives have touched mine in this life, whose loving actions have opened up my heart to greater love and understanding. I place animals in this category as well.
Years ago at a low point in my life, I had a powerful dream of being with angels. They were showing me paintings I had done that were hung throughout an immense room. I was particularly drawn to one on the ceiling of two angels looking downwards. Then I felt many arms cradling me as one would cradle a baby. When I awoke, I was filled with a sense of love and security. That dream gave me strength to continue, with firmer steps, on a path that was both painful and challenging.
In a recent move, I reconnected with an old friend who for many years had been a tennis partner and opponent. We delighted in our "new" friendship; we began playing bridge together and shared tennis stories and pictures of our families. One day at the bridge center, she noticed I was holding Eben Alexander's Proof of Heaven; taking a quick look, she turned to me and said forcefully, "Linda, how can you be so naïve as to think that there is anything or anybody beyond this life now?" Stunned, I said, "It's a wonderful book. You should read it." Shaking her head, she just laughed.
One week later she got the terrible news she had terminal cancer that had spread so quickly she had only weeks to live. When I went to visit, Hospice was there, and she was already going in and out of consciousness. Holding her limp hand, I started talking. "Joan, you are surrounded by love. You are not alone. You are beloved." She squeezed my hand; her eyes opened, and she smiled. "Linda, you make me feel so wonderful, so happy." Then she drifted off. I stayed with her for a long time telling her about God and angels and how she would be lifted home with love.
Two days later on a crystal clear, windless morning, I was playing tennis. My opponents were taking a break, and I was standing near the net. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a gauzy, wispy cloud appeared in front of me and stayed there for over five minutes, hovering, not dissipating. Right then I knew beyond knowing it was Joan coming to reassure me that she now understood she was in the arms of angels and that I shouldn't worry. She died the next morning.
On the Wings of Love includes my own stories and those of others who have shared their encounters with loving beings. It is my hope that these stories will lift our hearts and be reminders of our connection to the Divine. The word angel means messenger in both Greek and Arabic. Aren't we all messengers, sending a message to those around us through the lives we lead? Thomas Merton wrote, "Because we love, God is present." Living our lives in love is what carries us onwards in our journey home to the light on that distant shore.
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