Written by Linda Johnston

"It's Not Your Time" Angels calling

Used with permission.

 

This story was [published] in a Guidepost book called "All Night, All Day Angels Watching Over Me"

Shortly after my Thirtieth birthday, the mailman delivered a package from my mother who lives more than five hundred miles away in Springfield, Missouri. I let my young daughters, Marla and Sandra rip off the wrapping. When I saw what was inside, I was as excited as they were. It was an eight-by-ten copy of a small print that has hung on the wall of my bedroom, back in the fifties. In the painting a girl and boy are cowering on a bridge. They think they're lost and alone, but they're not. In the background an angel hovers near, present in the night. I called and thanked my mother for the print. "When I saw that, I just had to get it for you." she said. `"I'll hang it in the bedroom, Mom. Right next to my bed."

Every Mississippi morning I awoke strengthened by that artist's silent message. And strength I needed: as a manager of a fast-fool restaurant; as volunteer extrodinair, always saying yes to anyone's plea for help; as a wife and mother who was "there." Eager to go hiking or hunting with my family.

I've always been energized by being in - and painting - the great outdoors. In grammar school, inspired by this angel painting and other art, I took an interest in drawing. Pictures, I discovered, describe a scene better than words. With pencil and paints I worked to re-create the world I loved, out-doors in the country near my grandparents' farm: the apple trees and fences I climbed; the rivers I rowed and waded in: the goldenrod fields where my grandfather and I watched the deer feed; the ponds and streams I fished, sometimes with Grandpa, sometimes alone.

Out in the wild I had time to think about angels. Not just what they looked like in pictures, but what they sounded like, because I'd heard them..At least I'd heard one of them for certain. The first time, I was fishing alone in one of Grandpa's three farm ponds when I heard someone call my name. "Linda?" I thought it was my grandmother calling from the back porch.

"I'm coming, just a minute." I hollered back. Then, at the house, "Yes, Grandma. What do you want?" Grandma insisted she hadn't called me. The same thing happened again on another day, and the third or forth time, Grandma said, "It must be the angels calling."

Angels? That was the first I knew that such a thing could really exist. They were there to watch over me, Grandma explained, and want a fortunate little girl I was to have heard them speak. Did Grandma know what she was talking about?

It seemed so. That is the only way I could explain a number of childhood days shrouded in mystery. Like the school morning in the second grade when I walked several blocks and crossed a boulevard before boarding a Springfield city bus. My mother has taught me well. I looked both ways. And when I saw a clear street, I stepped out.

Screeeeech. I heard the high-pitched grinding of brakes just as I saw a car's front bumper. Instantly someone behind me grabbed my shirt collar and yanked me back to the sidewalk. I spun around to see who had pulled me out of the street. But no one was there. Someone had saved my life. But who?

Five years later my mother and I walked in the house from an afternoon of shopping, our arms full of groceries. Inside the kitchen door, we stopped and stared at each other. The house was full of the most beautiful, soothing choir music I had ever heard. There were no actual works; many choirs in perfect harmony sang music like a hymn. I could distinguish the soprano and alto singers. The basses joined in sometimes, then they had dropped out. I set the groceries on the kitchen table and went into the living room, then through the bedrooms. Mom was right behind me. The TV was off. So was the radio. The hi-fi was still. No one else was in the house. Defiantly, the sound was loudest in the living room. "You hear it too" I asked Mom. "Yes, a big choir."


Then came the sound of a director's baton, hitting a music stand. It seemed as though we were hearing a rehearsal; the choir shopped and then began again, as if starting over - to get it right. The music did not last long, less that a minute. At the finale, the director said something like, "Okay, we will go on now'" as if it were time to practice a new number. Both Mom and I heard this, a whisper that faded away while he was still talking. Then we stood there. Just the two of us. In silence.

When I told my seventh-grade science teacher what had happened, he said it was probably some phenomenon of bouncing sound waves. I listened to him respectfully, but I knew something else was going on. My grandma had told me to listen for the angels.