I intended to send this story into a magazine, but since some of it shows up in my memoir (rights issues), I’m going to forego that idea and put it right here for you to read.
This is an excerpt from my story. Enjoy.
Finding myself in the psych unit for the second time that summer of 2012, I needed a release from the spiritual persecution. Amidst all the chaos on the ward, and the madness in my mind, the Lord did not forget me.
As a result of stopping my bipolar medication earlier that summer, I ended up volunteering myself into the local behavioral hospital. This wasn’t my original plan. I had hoped my mind had healed, and meds were no longer necessary, but without the proper balance of chemicals, I couldn’t have a normal train of thought. The disorder ravaged my mind.
Yet in between the hysterics and paranoia, confusion and fear, my guardian angel showed up. Carrie Nagle* stood out from the rest of the ragamuffin crowd – soft blonde curls, a plump benign shape, white turtleneck, gold-specked skirt and cherub cheeks. She had the presence of Heaven itself about her. I was immediately curious about this patient.
Carrie found me at my worst and began to coach me through some tough times.
“You should put on a pageant, the Christmas story,” she suggested.
The idea percolated in my mind and we began. We took out my New King James Version Bible and I pointed to the text, tracing an invisible line under the words describing Jesus’ birth. She and a few other patients gathered around as the concept of a production in the hospital now inflamed my imagination.
“Attention, everyone,” I projected in front of the restless dayroom audience. “We will be performing a rendition of The Christmas Story shortly. Please stay tuned.”
It was as if the concept shot off as a flare gun, a bright red glow, and then faded to black. The ragamuffin crowd booed me and I faded off stage.
I hadn’t seen a doctor in days, my new medication I’d been on wasn’t working, and it seemed all the world could read my thoughts, take one glance at me and know how desperately scared and lonely I felt.
Despite the Christmas pageant no-go, Carrie told me jokes that didn’t really make much sense, but at the time they sent me roaring with laughter. On a particular occasion, I was having an especially rough day, and she cajoled me into my room against facility rules. But to my benefit, she came alongside me in comfort.
“Sh,” she hushed me. I cried because my request to leave was overlooked and I had already spent four weeks in this penitentiary.
My hysterics didn’t dissuade her efforts. We ended up on the floor, my head in her lap, bawling and heaving out of distress.
I’m your guardian angel, came a thought.
I didn’t think it, I naturally heard it in my mind, like she telepathically whispered the notion into my psyche.
“Were you there when I was born?” I looked up into her majestic green eyes.
“Yes,” she said softly.
“Were you there when I was at the beach that day by myself?” I recalled a day that summer I had travelled to the beach alone and felt the presence of my guardian angel come over me.
“Will you be there for me when I give birth?” I asked shakily.
“Yes,” she said, smiling.
She confirmed my fears.
“Have you ever prayed the Guardian Angel prayer?” she asked.
“No.” I hadn’t been taught to pray to angels.
“Come on, let me teach you.” She and I knelt over the foot of the bed, and I repeated after her.
“Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
To whom God’s love
commits me here,
Ever this day,
be at my side,
To light and guard,
Rule and guide.
I wiped the tears from my eyes, and looked into her deep emerald eyes.
“Thank you.” I wrapped my arms around her and leaned into her soft embrace.
I laughed to myself, thinking about how she had such a hard time keeping food down. It was the human food – angels can’t consume that. She always had that oversized turtleneck on, I figured, to keep her wings hidden.
After that, we would sit together in the day room and watch the movies, calling out random comments toward the characters on the screen and laughing at our own remarks. We sat outside on the cool green grass of the yard and I fantasized as if I was in another world. She encouraged me to run off my extra energy and play football with the other patients. Her calm demeanor and witty assurance kept me grounded.
On her last day there, we were looking at my Bible. A thought crossed my mind: Carrie should sign my Bible. After all, she was my guardian angel.
And she did, signing with the lyrics to a song from one of her “favorite people, Adam Lambert,
‘Through the dark there’s a way,
There’s a love, there’s a place
Where we don’t have to hide
We can dream all night’
Love and Light,
A nod to her last name, Nagle, gave me a key to God’s sense of humor through all this: Nagle had all the letters of angel in it. It was God’s grace and wisdom to meet me here with my very own angel. I didn’t deserve it, but I figured it was His gracious way of showing me He hadn’t abandoned me as I feared.
*Name has been changed to protect individual’s identity.