This Bayou Angel Gave Her Strength and Courage

She had lost all confidence while going through a tumultuous divorce. Then a heaven-sent guardian appeared.

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Posted in , Jun 24, 2022

An illustration of an angel in the bayou; Illustration by Carmen Garcia

Spanish moss whispered in the breeze as I sat cross-legged on our dock in Sarasota, Florida. I was in the middle of an acrimonious divorce and had come outside to the bayou to find some peace of mind. I didn’t know what would come next for me. The ongoing uncertainty had sapped any hope that things would get better.

Above me, the sky turned from pale blue to gray. I tried to draw strength from the beauty around me: the rounded sea grape leaves, pointy cabbage palm fronds and Australian pines. I scanned the water for herons. The surface was still, with a murky reflection of the clouds above. My peaceful bayou, I thought. I had to enjoy it while I could. I wouldn’t be able to stay here for much longer.

I didn’t know how I would find the strength to move on. Even standing up off the dock required too much effort for me right now. Tired and hopeless, I closed my eyes, tilted my head to the sky. I raised my arms, palms up high to the heavens. Dear God, Jesus, Mary, I prayed. I’d need strength and courage to build a new life and right now, even raising my arms was difficult. Help me.

My arms lifted effortlessly higher, as if invisible cords were pulling them closer to the sky. I was a trained aerialist who spent years with the circus, and the feeling was one I recognized. Like when I stood on my trapeze bar fully confident that I wouldn’t fall. But I had no confidence now.

A fluffy cloud floated above me. It was backlit by bright yellow rays. From behind the cloud, an angel descended. Dressed in a billowy white garment, she hovered before me. She touched her fingertips lightly to mine, my hands high in the air.

“You have strength and courage,” she said clearly. With that, she disappeared again behind the cloud.

I didn’t move. The tips of my fingers, where the angel had touched me, grew warm. The heat seeped down into my hands and moved through my arms, chest, midsection, and finally to my legs folded beneath me. The angel’s healing message reached me deeply. My arms felt light, and I lowered them, wrapping them around myself to make sure they were still part of my body.

The evening breeze silently slid through the oak trees again, rippling long, curly strands of moss. I stood up from the dock and looked back once more at the sky, where the evening star sparkled. I would leave my bayou with the reassurance that I had all the strength I needed for whatever came next. I’d reached up, and God showed me he was near enough to hold onto.

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