laura packardWhen God called, it was a little angel that answered.

         She was a mere week old, having just shyly earned her wings.

         “I have something of grave importance to ask of you,” He said to her.

         “Of course.” Though uncertain, she spoke clearly and with great sincerity. “Anything.”

         As He laid out his first mission for her, she listened carefully.

         “Go on now, child,” He whispered, His words a swift but sweet caress. “I know you can do this.”

         And off she went.

         It was not easy.

         “God, no one talks to one another,” the angel reported. “They stare blankly into things all day and all night. They ignore everyone around them. Then they write down and say the most horrible things about each other. People they don’t even know, that they haven’t even asked to break bread. How can they be so cruel and careless? How can they hurt with the beautiful words they were gifted the ability to create?” 

         God said nothing. He only solemnly shook His head, sending the young angel back on her way.

         “God please,” she begged. “I see mirrors; sleek, frosty façades of what everyone wants everyone else to see with crystal clear clarity. Picture perfect images that shadow doubt, loneliness and fear… of what? Not being able to be enough?  Do enough? Give without reciprocity? Or at the very most, hide the basic truth that they are human, imperfect beings riddled with uneven cracks and deep, jagged crevices that, if looked at with pure honesty, reveal the rawest and most exquisite pieces of the rarest art?”

         Again, God said nothing. He only solemnly shook His head, sending her back on her way.

         “Please help me God,” the young angel begged with freshly dried tears, trembling wings and a short sharpness of breath. “I have just seen . . .  in vast deserts rich with oil and offerings. There were innocent men, women and children . . . burned, tortured, executed in the light of day. What have they done to anyone? Why will no one help them? Why does everyone look away?”

         God nods, silently, again. The angel goes on her way.

         “God, I don’t understand,” the angel managed. “There are children fighting for their lives with needles and medicines . . . just for one more day . . . while there are people who use the same things to try and forget their struggles, the weight of their world, their God-given gift of feeling – yes, pain . . . and suffering . . . but also joy, laughter, intimacy, family and friendship. Why do they not care if they live another day when so many people care that they do? How do we show them pain, human pain, affects everyone? How do we show them there is no way around but through? With great love and sacrifice and faith, the good outweighs the bad. Isn’t it true? A life; a hard, beautiful and surprisingly cruel, but still fleeting and flawlessly perfect from time to time life, is still a wonderful life, after all.”

         God said nothing, yet again.

         Only, this time the little angel gathered her courage, straightened her still shaky wings and turned around. Brave.

         “God, why do you send me?” she asked. “Again and again and again? You are God. You can see everything all the time. Why send me when you already know what I am going to tell you?”

         He was silent for only a moment. Next, a whip of faint, frigid air suddenly met the darkest of clouds and the essence of soil and suffering. At lightning speed, the wholeness of it surrounded the little angel. She stood still, trembling slightly.  Then, just as quickly, the shiny, warm bits from the sun and the glassy, calm fragments of seas and sweet souls beneath them swirled around it all and lifted. The only thing left were streams of worn, warm aged thread spun in full circle above them; golden. Alive.

         “My child,” God smiled down at his young pupil, “Yes, but we all need someone to remind us, even Me, that life – hard, beautiful, surprisingly cruel, fleeting yet flawlessly perfect – is still a perfectly imperfect and wonderful life, after all. This, life, is the greatest gift of all.”

         Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and many, many wishes for Peace on Earth.

         Love y’all. Mean It.