Do you believe in angels?

Do you believe that someone, somewhere watches over you and tries to keep you from harm? That things happen for a reason or many reasons, and we don’t always(or indeed very often) know why?

My old friend W has lived an extraordinary life, working and living in some very strange and often dangerous places. I first met him about 22 years ago, when for a short space of time, he was trying domestic life and lived in the next street to me in the north eastern town where I lived when I first married. We babysat his little girl. Over the intervening years, we’ve moved a good few times and he has clocked up tens of thousands of miles travel. He sends postcards from round the world, reappears at irregular intervals with tales and souvenirs and marvellous gifts and then vanishes again. I get postcards and packages from all over the globe; he indulges my strange fascination with rocks and sends parcels of rocks from the places he’s been that I, in all probabilty will never see, so I can sleep with them under a pillow and dream a psychometric dream.

The last time I heard from him was about a month ago when I got first an email and then a postcard from Libya.

I really didn’t think any more about it till the news the other night told me about the plane that crashed at Tripoli airport. I didn’t even think much then, until the news came through that there were Britons on that plane. Then a cold wave went through me. You see, because he has no family, we and a few other friends have become his official family: I may even be named as his next of kin. I’m certainly his executor.

Rather than wait and worry, I emailled him. I figured that if I have no reply within a week, then I will start looking on the manifest list or the list of casualties.

Late last night, I got a reply. No, he was fine. BUT: he’d been trying to get back to Libya from South America, and he’d been bumped off the flight he ought to have been on and therefore missed his connection.The connection should have taken him to meet the plane that crashed. He’d been booked on that plane.

You can imagine how it happened and how cross he must have been to have lost his flight and to have to sit and wait for the next one. We’ve all done it; got angry and frustrated at how things unfurl at times.

His final comment on his email to me: “My angel strikes again.” You see, he’s had near misses before, not to mention almost fatal accidents, and he’s always believed he won’t be allowed to pass on till he’s done whatever he was meant to do on earth. He’s still trying to figure out what that is, but you get the point.

For a large number of people, that flight was the end of the road for them. But for my friend, it wasn’t. I don’t know why. I do know I am glad it wasn’t. I’m not certain I believe in the popular idea of guardian angels, with your very own celestial body guard growing greyer of hair by the year, but I do believe our lives are watched and cared for and we each have our time to go. The book of Ecclesiastes has it well:

“For everything, its season, and for every activity under heaven its time: a time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build up; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time for mourning and a time for dancing.” (Ecclesiastes 3, 1-4)


I’m glad that this time it wasn’t his time to die and it wasn’t our time to mourn.

21 thoughts on “Do you believe in angels?

  1. glad for you.

    Some folks,not your friend, like to think that they are left here because they are so good ( I have declared this goody 2 shoes week) but who can know the reason .

    This is a scripture I often think of concerning tragedies:

    Luke 13:4
    Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?

    I think “my angel strikes again” is a whimsical and yet somehow a practical attitude about such things.


    • He is a good man who(like all of us) has done his fair share of bad things(as a soldier for example) but who hopes to do good while he can.
      Some tragedies are without apparent sense or reason. Verdict: in a fallen world, shit happens.


      • I think it is cool that you are family to him .
        It seems like a great deal for both of you.
        Thank you for sharing that and for today’s “inspiration”
        about the fallen world. 🙂


      • he’s my big brother and brother to my husband and uncle to my daughter; he bought her an axe for her 16th birthday, that sits my the side or her bed in case of intruders….
        When my husband was ordained, he came to the service at York Minster(which is a very big cathdral indeed) and along with another friend, they were all three snapped walking across the cathedral green looking for all the world like a band of brothers all dressed in black wearing shades….


  2. An axe -that is probably the best present ever given the fact that he is a traveler. A functioning symbol of love and protection.
    An axe- this made my day.


  3. I do believe in Angels. I thank them for such love and care. I feel grateful for recognizing their presence in my life. An angel is what we need when we need them and exactly when we are not expecting him.
    My best 🙂


  4. After sitting with my dying father, I sense that there is more to see than what meets the eye. Just as dogs hear a larger range of sound than we, the dying see further (or at least different) than we.

    Whether what they see can be called angels, guardian or otherwise, who but God knows. But I like the sounds of it.


  5. Pingback: Was I God’s photographer? « Zen and the art of tightrope walking

  6. I do indeed believe that we are watched. Whether by guardian angels or God, I can only guess. I try to remember this when things prevent me from getting where I want to go and when I want to go. I ask myself what tragedy have I missed? I know that on one occasion it was not to miss a tragedy but to aide in one. The constant ringing of my phone made me late getting into town. When I finally arrived at the little shop I needed, an elder gentleman fainted in the line in front of me. The store personnel had a panic attack. Since I had worked at school, my emergency training kicked in and took care of him until the ambulance arrived. From his symptoms it appeared to be a sudden drop in blood pressure. The medics confirmed it. I was the only one there with training.
    Sometimes we are delayed to help us and sometimes we are delayed to help others. Life is a wonder.


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