by: Robert Cording
It's no wonder Gabriel appears
At my elbow, flashing his ruby throat, levitating,
And holding steady a foot or so
From a blooming orange azalea. It's not me
He wants but those trumpeting petals.
Earlier this morning, I looked at a book
Of annunciation paintings, the curve
Of Mary's body finding a graceful equipoise
Between fear and acceptance as she holds herself
Open to awful wonder of an angel
Who tells her the good news
And also that her child's silent partner
Will be death. Perhaps all annunciations
Involve the infernal terms living asks of us all.
My dear friend must decide today
Whether her husband of forty years should be
Removed from life support. She gave herself
To the next thing that needed doing
When her husband's slow, terrible dying
Became unredeemable. And me?
I've often shrunk the world to my desire
That everything will be alright,
A crude defense meant to exclude whatever
Is uncontrollable. I turn away, afraid to be
Empty enough for something to enter.
Except perhaps something as small
As this tiny whirlwind, this sheen
Of emerald and ruby darting in and out
Of blooms, buzzing at my elbow as if with news
I can choose or not choose to hear.
Yes, I'm dealing with a lot of uncontrollables in my life right now. Money and job worries. Health insurance worries. High school graduation worries for my daughter, with the attendant college tuition and scholarship worries. Hopes and dreams and worries.
I know that I'm no different from any other adult with school-age children. It just feels a little like a crossroads for me at the moment. I would pay good money (if I had any) for some angel to appear and make some kind of annunciation about the future.
I think it would have been wonderful to live at a time when angels appeared with messages from God. When prophets were around to heal leprosy and cancer. When God made personal appearances on this planet. I think it would make difficult times a little less difficult. Hard decisions a little easier.
So, if you see an angel today, would you send her my way? Tell her I have a few questions that need some annunciations.
Saint Marty is thankful today for prayer, which, at the moment is the currency of his life.
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