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In the Company of Angels

God's Angel Mary
by Bill Kolb

For He shall give His angels charge over you,
to keep you in all your ways.
—Psalm 91:10-12

More than a half-century ago—and it seems a world away—my older brother and I were boarding students at a school in Connecticut. The year was 1944 and war raged throughout Europe and in the Pacific. Merricourt was a small institution of about fifty children, run by a couple known to the students as Uncle John and Aunt Ruth. My brother was always getting into trouble, and it seems like I would get punished right along with him. Infractions such as cursing, hitting another boy or wetting one's bed would bring very predictable punishment, the most common of which was being sent to bed without supper.

There was a woman, a large woman, who cooked for all of us. Her name was Mary. I recall that she would walk around the grounds between classes at mid-morning and give us slices of warm toast from the basket she carried. She would ring a bell that she also carried.

Mary was the kind of person who would bake a cake for a boy's birthday, but before she put it in the oven, she would make sure it was filled with pennies, nickels and dimes, so that many of us would enjoy the one boy's special day. Not too sanitary by today's standards, but we loved it, and I don't recall anyone keeling over.

The reason I am writing about Mary is because of what happened just before we went home for the last time. The war in Europe had ended; it was spring, and summer recess was near. Nevertheless, late afternoon found my brother and me punished once again, sent to our beds without the evening meal—visions of far-away breakfast dancing in our heads.

Then who should appear but Mary—on tiptoe, finger to lips—motioning us to climb the stairs to the top floor, where she opened a closet door. Inside was a little table with two chairs, set with a tablecloth and all our favorite foods. Will I ever forget that moment? No way! To this day it tells me that there ARE angels in our lives. God’s Angels.

Lord, help us to believe in you and in your goodness in us and in the world. Help us to take heart when faced with the vicissitudes of life, knowing that your angels, both seen and unseen, always surround us. Amen.


Copyright ©2006 Bill Kolb



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