Monday, December 2, 2013

Theodore and the Guardians of Men - Chapter 1

“Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my side, to light, to guard, to rule, and to guide. Amen,” Theodore intoned alongside his mother as he knelt beside his bed.  They then made the sign of the cross, touching their forehead as they said, “In the name of the Father,” their heart as they said, “and the Son,” touching their left shoulder as they said, “and the Holy” and finishing by touching their right shoulder as they said, “Spirit. Amen.”

“What prayers do you want to offer tonight, my Teddy Bear?” his mother asked, kissing the top of his head as she gave him a hug.

“Dear God, please watch over my dad as he fights overseas.  Help my Grandpa feel better so he doesn’t die.  Please give my Grammy Jane a hug and kiss from me, and tell her that I miss her.  Please help my mom with her job, and help me to be a strong man like my dad,” he said.

“You pray such good prayers, Teddy,” his mother told him as he climbed into his bed and slipped under the covers.

“How long until Dad can come home?” he asked her just before she turned out the light.

Her face lost its smile for a moment and a sad look came into her eyes.  “I’m not sure, Teddy Bear.  We just have to keep praying for an end to the war,” she told him.  “Remember that Jesus has promised that when two or more of us gather in his name to ask anything at all, God will grant it.  We just have to hold on to our faith and keep believing until he delivers.  I love you, sweetheart,” she said as she shut off the lights.  “Sweet dreams,” she finished as she closed the door behind her.

Theodore waited until he was sure she was gone and added prayers that he hadn’t dared to say in front of his mother. “God, please don’t let my mom get fired, and please help her not to worry so much.  Please help us not to lose our house.  Also, please help me to get to know my Guardian Angel better. Thank you for listening, and please help me to take care of my mom like my dad asked me to.”  He closed his eyes and was soon fast asleep.

Eli listened with great pride to Theodore’s humble prayers and waited until the boy’s mother was gone to step from the shadows and take up his position at the head of the boy’s bed.  He looked down at the innocent young face and was unable to control the smile that spread across his face reflecting the spring of joy that welled in his heart.  He knew love for his brother angels and love for God Almighty, but the love that he held for Theodore was beyond words to explain.

On the day that Theodore had been conceived and God had assigned him to be the boy’s guardian, Eli had accepted out of love for God alone.  That had been more than 10 years ago.  He could not have imagined the challenges that would face him.  It didn’t seem possible that a single human being could get into so much trouble in the passing of a single minute, let alone over the course of a lifetime, but neither could he have anticipated how much fulfillment and delight the work would bring him.

There were angels who found the thought of serving human beings, whose lives were so brief and so prone to sin, as being beneath them.  Eli, though, took great pride in his young charge’s progress.  He could not have put into words why, especially to those who had never served mankind in this way.  He had not understood God’s fascination with these flawed beings until he had been assigned to Theodore.  He had accepted the assignment merely out of obedience and gratitude. Quite often, though, he found his heart swelling to bursting with a love he had not known was possible just looking at Theodore.  Now he understood why God cared so much for these frail creatures, and he understood why God was willing to sacrifice so much for the sake of them.

Tonight was a special night.  Tonight, Eli had been given permission to do something few Guardians were ever allowed to do.  Tonight, he had been given permission by the Lord God Most High to introduce himself to Theodore and to teach him directly about angels.  It was a rare privilege, and came about only because it was something Theodore had been praying for over the last six weeks.  It was an answer to Eli’s own prayers, and something he had been working toward for years.

Eli pulled his trumpet out and blew.  The horn was designed to be heard only by the ears of the soul, and would do no damage to the boy’s physical ears. Theodore stirred and then turned over but did not awaken.  Eli blew the horn again, louder and longer this time.  Theodore muttered in his sleep and stirred, but did not awaken.  Eli put the horn close to Theodore’s ear and blew it at full strength.

Theodore awoke with a start.  A soft but bright light gleamed from near his bed.  He looked over and was startled to find a tall man, at least he thought it must be a man because he didn’t see any breasts, in a robe standing there.  The man’s face was kind and gentle.  His hair was to his shoulders, golden and with the slightest wave to it. Wings like a bird sprouted from the man’s back, and he carried a golden horn in his hand.

“Who are you?” Theodore asked in amazement.  “Am I dreaming?”

“You are not dreaming, young Theodore,” the man said.  His voice was so beautiful, reminding Theodore of a church bell in its tone and resonance. “My name is Eli, and I am your guardian angel.”

Theodore’s mouth dropped open in astonishment.  For six weeks he’d been praying every night that God would allow him to meet his guardian angel, but this was better than he’d ever imagined.  He had so many questions he wanted to ask the angel, so many things he wanted to know.  He didn’t even know where to begin.

“It’s okay, Theodore, you can ask me any questions you like,” he assured Theodore.

“Where do you live? How many of you are there? Are you all guardians? What do you do? What do you eat? Why can’t we normally see you?” the questions began to tumble from Theodore’s mouth in a flood.  “What does heaven look like? What does God look like?
Theodore might have continued except that the angel held up a single hand.

“One question at a time,” Eli chuckled.  “But before you begin to ask them, I have one for you.”
Theodore looked at Eli in surprise.  “A question for me?”

Eli smiled, “Yes.  I will teach you all about the angels, but there are two ways to teach. I can tell you about them, or I can show them to you.  Would you like to see things for yourself?”

Theodore’s eyes widened, and his mouth dropped open.  It was more than he had dared to ask.  Then, he thought about his mom, and knew that she would miss him if he were gone.

“My mom might get worried if she found me missing,” Theodore told him.

Eli smiled again.  “Do not worry, Theodore, I would never cause your mother worry.  I assure you, you will be back before she knows you are gone.”

“Who will watch over her?” Theodore asked.  “I’m supposed to be the man of the house, now that dad’s not here.”

Eli knelt down so that he could look Theodore in the eyes.  Theodore noticed that his eyes were the most beautiful shade of blue he had ever seen.

“It is a good man that makes sure to take care of those who are left in his charge.  Come, and I will show you,” Eli told him, standing back up and holding out his hand.

Theodore slid out of bed and took Eli’s hand.  Suddenly, he could see a host of angels watching over their house.  They carried swords and shields and arrows, ready to do battle against any who might come with evil intention.

“You see? Your mother is well protected.  She will be safe while we are away,” Eli reassured him.  “Are you ready?”

Theodore nodded and put his hand in Eli’s.  “I’m ready.”

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