I really prefer the word “quirk'' to “flaws”. We all have quirks, right? I might have one or two myself. There is one in particular I started thinking about this week, and I probably should jump right in before you start trying to guess which one I’m referring to!!
In both books and movies, I hate sad endings. Whether I give it a thumbs up or thumbs down depends on the ending. Paul and I can watch a fantastic movie for a couple of hours, but if the last 5 minutes of the movie aren’t great, I proclaim it a complete and total DUD. Because of this quirk, I will never be asked to fill a Siskel and Ebert role.
Years ago Paul and I watched The Notebook. Because of that movie I refuse to read or watch anything based on Nicholas Sparks' works. It’s too sad. I sobbed for days after watching The Notebook, and to this day, l will tell anyone I know what a horrible movie it is.
All of this made it an odd choice when I suggested that Paul and I watch After Life on Netflix, which is a story based on how a man picks up his life after his wife dies from cancer. In my defense, the main character is Ricky Gervais, the English comedian. COMEDIAN. Nope. Didn’t matter. It was good, very good, but very very sad with just a little comic relief thrown in to keep the viewers from hurling themselves off a cliff.
In one of the last scenes, Gervais is talking to a woman who lost her husband. Their conversation really caught my attention. As they sit together on a bench in the cemetery, she explains,
There are angels by the way. They don't have wings and live in clouds. They wear
nurses' uniforms and work hard to pay the rent on their houses. Some work for
charities because they can't look the other way. Some have 4 legs and bark. But
whatever they look like, they all save lives. If you want to be an angel, you've got to
do it when you're alive. Be good. Do good things.
The jury has always been out for me regarding angels. I don’t NOT believe in them, but I’ve never been sure that I actually DO believe in them. Until this explanation. Suddenly as I look around, I think we must be completely surrounded by them - except maybe for that jerk who cut me off in traffic?
Last Tuesday I was sitting in a small group at church, and we were discussing how none of us understood the book we were supposed to be reading and the exercises we were supposed to be doing. In other words, none of us were Biblical powerhouses with all the answers. As I looked around for a minute though, I saw them not as my friends, but as the angels they are.
There was a garden angel who cares for the earth in general and the gardens of St. Francis in particular, whose gentle demeanor both soothes and encourages everyone she comes in contact with.
There was a teacher angel, who taught for years and then supported a Title 1 school and its children for even more years with her gifts of wisdom, time, fundraising, and caring.
There was a preacher angel who was willing to show up, be vulnerable and real as she taught, guided and cared for others despite her own worries.
It was pretty humbling to be in such company and yet very inspiring as we all walked out together.
“If you want to be an angel, you’ve got to do it when you’re alive.”
Are you someone’s angel?