Angel for Volunteers

And so I lie there, my body has finally reached its breaking point. We had been working since before the sun rose and it had set long before we stopped. That is a long time for such physically demanding labor, but it was for a worthy cause. I turn my head and see a cluster of neighborhood kids pointing and exclaiming at the new park that my companions and I have created for them. Yesterday, this space contained only overgrown weeds, broken glass and the rusted remains of a swing set. The glass and gravel are gone now, the weeds pulled and the rusted metal taken away. Instead, the small park is now home to sand walkways, colored red, blue and gold, gardens of flowers and the biggest (and safest) swing set/jungle gym I have ever seen. The sight fills me with a certain amount of satisfaction - it feels good to give - but unfortunately, the effort of turning my head also causes a certain amount of pain. I begin to wonder if I have the strength to rise, much less drive the 1100 miles back to Seattle. I close my eyes for a moment.

And when I open them...an Angel. Her.

I start to rise...trying to think of something to say. But she stops me, gently taking hold of my aching head and laying it in her lap as she gracefully lowers herself to the ground.

"Shh...rest," she says. I relax and she cradles me, stroking my hair. She starts to sing softly. Her voice is so perfectly lovely that I can't really follow the words, but it hardly matters. It permeates me. It mingles with her touch on my head, which seems to reach down to the tips of my toes. Peace fills me. I look up into her eyes and I am lost. I am completely encompassed by her presence and yet I know that she is just as aware of mine. A kind of communication is occurring and for a brief moment we know each other, completely...truthfully. She is more beautiful than I could have realized and, although I feel inadequate, bared to her as I am...she loves me anyway. I want this to never end...or else to die, the last moments of my life spent touching perfection. But she is only connected to the earth by the thinnest of strands and is not meant for someone as mundane as myself and so it must end. My eyes focus on her face as I return to a less ethereal consciousness.

"Thank you," I say. "No, thank you. For them," she replies, indicating the happy, excited children who are now filling the park with their shouts and giggles. And then she is off, tending to the next volunteer.

My body will be sore for days, but my smile will last much longer.

Copyright (c) 1999 by Dei