-- By Kathy Anne Harris
The middle-aged man parked his car at the top of the cliff, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The early Spring sun was hanging low on the horizon, a warm silver-yellow. Lemony foam purled atop the incoming tide, as waves broke gently on the beach.
Slipping his hands into the pockets of his jacket, Jeremy walked over to the ledge. A cold breeze, heavy with a salty mist, brushed over and around him, ran phantom fingers through his hair, as he descended the steep sand and wood stairs to the beckoning beach.
There was a lovely tide pool circled with boulders and tucked away behind a bend in the cliff side that few visitors to the beach would ever discover. A tiny ribbon of sand abutted the rocks and provided enough room for him to sit at water's edge. He sat down, leaned back against a large smooth rock, and gazed into the clear water of the tide pool. Each time a wave stretched out and collapsed on shore a ribbon of seawater would pulse into the pool then trickle back toward the ocean.
Colorful anemone and starfish moved slowly in their isolated world. Watching them usually managed to calm him. However, today he found himself on the other side of "usually managed." It was the kind of day where things that happened in the past, resurface, wanted or not! Nothing unique to the human race, just the usual emotions that assail us all: grief, anger, sadness, loneliness, shame… And this is where Jeremy came to work things out in his mind, if possible.
He did not hear the tinkling chime of disintegrating waves on sand. Nor the cries of the gulls overhead. Where the stairs bottom out on the sands of a nice sized beach, a family was playing fetch with their black, Labrador Retriever. He did not hear their laughter, or the excited bark of the dog.
His chest felt tight and weighted down. It was difficult for him to breath. He got to his knees and bent over the tide pool. Unbidden, tears welled up, and he wept. The sound of a crab scuttling over rock and sand drew his attention. He looked down and saw the crab disappear into a rock crevasse. He then studied his reflection in the still water. How ragged he looked, he thought. How worn down. He took a deep, settling breath and found the weight around his chest had lifted.
Another wave broke on the beach, a rivulet flowed into the pool and the water shivered. Jeremy reached out and dragged his fingers across the rippling surface. In moments the tidal pool was still and there, at his side, reflected in the pool was an angel. A grand being, with heavy, flowing wings the color of sunlight on pearls. And light pulsed from the angel like the flame of a candle. Such an image only the Divine could sculpt for it was beyond human beauty, The visage that regarded Jeremy was radiant with grace and the angel's countenance was like none Jeremy could describe. No such emotion or like expression had every played across a human face.
Jeremy trembled and all thoughts fled him, save for the presence of the angel. "Why?" he said, as he turned to the heavenly being at his side.
"I am an emissary, sent by the Creator, to be with you at such times as He decrees.
"As you sat here, your breathing was labored and you felt a heaviness inside of you."
"That weight was my presence with you, as I lifted the burden in your heart."
"The tears you wept, I gathered unto myself. I will present them to our Lord and he will return them to the heavens, to bless all things on the earth that flourish when gentle rains fall.
"The joy that will lift you up as you return to your world today will come as I embrace your spirit, to accompany me briefly, on my flight heavenward.
"And when it is your time to leave this place, I will hold your soul--for we will both be heaven bound, and my wings will take you home."
Jeremy shook his head. "But why am I allowed to see you? To hear you? Why was this done for me?"
The angel smiled. "It was allowed more for me. He gave me these few moments with you as a gift. A glorious token of His love... For it is an angel's heart's desire to be given time to commune with humans openly. To see one another with our eyes and to speak together with words."
"Will I remember my visit with you?"
The angel's eyes flashed the colors of sunrise. "Whether you shall recall our meeting I cannot say... that decision rests in our Lord's hands."
Jeremy did not remember, but the vision he beheld, and the words he heard, his spirit-soul will never forget.