Angel, Second Class

Some people get clear callings. Some of us seem to spend our lives waiting for one. My life followed the latter category. But the calling I was looking for was […]

Some people get clear callings. Some of us seem to spend our lives waiting for one. My life followed the latter category. But the calling I was looking for was about my plans, not God’s. It took a long time until I began to listen. 

God’s blessing took the form of an illness, which left me helpless to continue with what I wanted for my life. For years I struggled against this obstacle, praying to continue with my plans. One day I woke to realize this life had been about me, and very little about others, or certainly not about what God wanted for me. Then I began to listen.

Listening didn’t bring a great voice from heaven or instant clarity for the direction hoped. Instead it showed what had been already right there in front of me. God had been patiently waiting for me to let him guide my life.

I returned to my home town from Massachusetts to care for my ill parents, and live near by. That began years of walking with them through illness and death, discovering these amazing people I thought I had already known. There was much unfinished work left to heal family relationships and learn how to care about others. The gifts I thought I was giving became gifts to me; they were God’s first lessons of showing me how to be his child and become useful. This was angel school lesson # 1. 

When my father passed, I was left in emptiness again. No clear call came from heaven. I had not yet learned to really listen to God. He already was putting his work in front of me, just not in the way I expected. Illness, loss and parent care had prepared me to understand the sufferings of others. Here and there a person would come into my life and I was able to help them because of what I had been through. These efforts seemed small, hardly worth noting. They were the next steps for me to listen for where God guided, where I could help in some way in his work.  A calling wasn’t about doing something big, but being useful in just where I was needed and attentive to what was given for that day. Angel school lesson #2.

The burdens and difficulties of this life turned into a kind of training ground to discover the person God had created me to be. Letting go of my ideas about what I should be took a lot of trust. Then more trust to step into the life God was outlining for me day by day. But finally I could respond to God’s work. This was angel school, and life here was all our classroom!

Fr. Dan said in a recent retreat, “I know I am going to heaven, not because I am so holy but because God is so very eager to have us with him for all eternity”. If God was taking us to heaven, then what was this life but a preparation for that? The bible says that in heaven we will be like angels. We did not have to wait, angel school was already beginning. Like Clarence in “It’s a Wonderful Life”, we are angels in training. God is already getting us ready for eternity. Listening to God and doing his work could bring heaven here now. Then there is nothing to fear in death. It is only changing one set of clothes for another.

We have been given all the light we need from the beginning at baptism. Christ has never left us. Finally we realize that we do not need much of anything else and there is even an abundance to share. God is showing us where and how every day. I thought that I never got a calling, but it was always there. The calling was simple. Only to love as we have been loved. Learning to love once seemed like work. Then it becomes the only way to live.

So what are we worried about? God has you and me and the whole world in his hands. 

Once you let go of worry, you are so much lighter. Then God starts to carry us truly.

That’s when we start to fly.

Maybe that’s what it means to get our wings. 

-Julia Gauvin

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