Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thoughtful About . . . Angels

When I was very little (as in, from 2 to 4 1/2 years old) my family lived in a split-foyer house. There are things I remember about this house--my room. The kitchen with the breakfast bar separating it from the dining room.

The stairs.

Why, you ask, do I remember the stairs? Interesting and weird story. I have a few memories relating to this. The first few are of approaching the stairs, pausing to make sure no one else was looking, and then jumping. Three years old, mind you. Jumping down the stairs. Now that I have a 3-yr-old of my own, this is even more terrifying.

But I did it because for some reason, I knew I wouldn't fall on those stairs. I knew--knew--that I could leap down that first flight to the landing and would just float along, landing oh-so-softly on my feet.

And I knew that if I tried it on the second flight down to the basement, I'd fall and hurt myself.

There were a few other things I knew. First, I couldn't tell anyone about it or do it when they were watching. Second, I could only do it until my next birthday.

Had you asked me at the time how this was possible, I would have said, "Angels carry me down." Another thing I just knew. And interestingly, my family didn't attend church back then. I had no "religious upbringing" to-date. So how I knew this . . . Eyes of a child, I suppose.

But I was a stubborn child. (Who, me? Never! LOL.) On that birthday, in spite of knowing I couldn't and shouldn't, I checked to make sure no one was watching and then took a flying leap . . . and a giant tumble. My mom came running, and couldn't understand why in the world I'd tried to jump down the stairs.

Years later I finally told my mom about this, and she got this strange look on her face. "You flew down the stairs?" she asked. Then she shook her head. "I did the same thing when I was a kid. It was angels."

Maybe my family's just weird. Or maybe this a priori faith in the world beyond our vision is something inherent in children, something they understand the rules of . . . but something they grow out of.

Makes me wonder what my daughter sees when she looks out over a revival meeting and asks, "Why's there an alligator on that man's head?" Or when she looks to the corner of the room and smiles. I'm willing to grant imagination on a lot of things, but I also remember so clearly that certain knowledge that there were angels there, waiting to give me a ride . . . for a time. So long as I obeyed the rules.

In all my life I don't remember ever seeing an angel--certainly not since I became a believer and grew up into adulthood. But I find it even more interesting that my one personal experience with them pre-dates my education in faith. Just goes to show you, I guess--there's a lot we can teach kids about God.

And a lot they can teach us.

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