Angels Watching Over Me
Writer Author Janet Seever
- Fiction Yes
“I like that ceramic angel in the corner best, Gram,” said Amanda. “She’s so pretty.”
Her grandmother leaned over and peered into her glass case that held her angel collection—ceramic, glass and carved wood. When Amanda came for a visit, they often looked at the angels.
“Are angels real? Do they watch over us?” Amanda always had a million questions—and that’s only a slight exaggeration. Gram loved her for her inquisitive mind.
“The Bible speaks of angels many times. There were Michael and Gabriel, of course, and the book of Hebrews speaks of ‘angels unaware’ among us,” Gram answered. “I’ve always heard that we have guardian angels, but I’ve never given it much thought.”
“Do you know ‘Angels Watching over Me’?” Amanda sang a line in the sweet, clear voice of a 13-year-old, and Gram joined in. “All day, all night, angels watching over me. . . ”
After that they settled back on the heavy black leather Chesterfield in the living room and munched on popcorn they had popped in a frying pan on the wood-burning kitchen stove. They both had hot cocoa with marshmallows. Labour Day weekend was a special time Amanda spent with her grandmother each year.
“Please tell me the story about when you were teaching in the country school,” she begged, never tiring of it.
“I was just nineteen at the time,” Gram began. “I was teaching in a one-room school on the Prairies. One day I sent Edwin to the back of the room to sit in the corner because he was misbehaving. Instead, he crawled out the window. He was more man than boy at 17, but was only in ninth grade because his dad often kept him home to work on the farm.”
“Then what happened, Gram?” asked Amanda, although she knew the story so well she could tell it herself.
“I called him back in and scolded him for being disobedient. He was so tall he towered over me. He just looked down at me and said, ‘Little girl.’ I blushed. After that we came to an understanding and I never had any more trouble with him.”
“A couple years later he joined the army, and then I heard he was killed in the Great War in Europe—World War I,” Gram said sadly, as if it had happened just yesterday instead of 40 years ago.
“How does God decide when people have lived long enough and it’s time for them to die?” The thought of Edwin dying so young troubled Amanda.
“Oh, Amanda Jane, you’re always so full of questions.” Gram smiled. “I remember other questions you had when you were younger. ‘How long is forever?’ ‘How far does the universe go?’ ‘Who would I be if I hadn’t been born?’ I didn’t have good answers for those, and this is a tough one as well. Let me think about it.”
She paused a moment, and then continued. “One thing I can tell you is that God knows everything about us and our times are in His hands. The Bible says that even the hairs on our heads are numbered. We don’t need to be afraid.”
“Gram, I hope you don’t die for a long, long time. I couldn’t stand it if you did.”
“Only God knows the future,” said Gram, changing the subject. “Have you finished reading that book by Lucy Maude Montgomery? I think you would be a kindred spirit with Anne of Green Gables.”
“Oh, Gram, I hope I can visit Prince Edward Island when I grow up. That would be extraordinarily special.”
The next day Amanda hugged Gram good-bye while her mother waited for her by the door. Their Manitoba farms were only three miles apart, so they saw each other often.
“I’m so looking forward to spending a week at Christmas with you just like last year. I want to string popcorn and cranberries for the Christmas tree.” Amanda’s words tumbled out. “Can I help pick the tree out in the woods with Grandpa? Maybe after that you can teach me to crochet—not doilies, but something useful.”
“Whoa, slow down long enough to take a breath, dear girl.” Gram laughed her musical laugh.
Fall came to the farm. Leaves turned brilliant colours, drifting to the ground one by one. Amanda’s two younger brothers, Tom and Johnny, made huge piles and then jumped in them. At 13, she knew she was too old to play in leaves, so she did it when no one was watching.
At home Amanda helped her mother freeze and can vegetables from their garden. When she wasn’t helping or working on homework, she was on a quest. She got her Bible down from the shelf and started reading it. Previously, she only used it to look up verses in Sunday school. She found the concordance and began looking up verses on death and angels.
In a notebook, she wrote down questions she needed to answer.
1. Are there angels around us? Can we recognize them?
2. How does God decide when it’s time for people to die?
3. Can I find comfort in the Bible like Gram does in hers?
At Thanksgiving, everyone jumped into the car for a trip to see Gram and Grandpa. Mom made salads, vegetables and homemade rolls. Gram prepared the turkey, dressing, potatoes and pumpkin pie.
“Hi, Amanda, Tom and Johnny. It’s so good to see you,” Gram greeted them. “I hope you brought hearty appetites with you.” The aroma of a Thanksgiving feast floated from the kitchen.
After watching Gram that day, Amanda could tell she wasn’t feeling well. She didn’t laugh like she normally did, and her face looked pained. She and Amanda didn’t even get around to looking at the angel collection, a Thanksgiving tradition.
When they got home, Amanda confronted her mother. “Mom, Gram wasn’t feeling well. I could tell. Do you know what’s wrong?”
“She’s been having some pain. The doctor will be doing some tests next week.” Mom had a worried expression on her face, the same kind of expression she had the year the crops had failed. “Pray for your grandmother, Amanda.”
“I will. I always do.”
After checking Gram, the doctor sent her to a hospital in Winnipeg. Amanda’s mother went to Winnipeg to stay with relatives who lived there so she could visit Gram. Amanda had the responsibility of getting meals for her dad and brothers. She was glad Mom had left prepared meals in the freezer and that the neighbors helped supply some food.
“Gram has cancer,” said Mom when she phoned home. “Doctors removed a large tumor, but it has spread throughout her body.” Amanda had never encountered anyone with cancer before, but she knew cancer was deadly.
“God, please let Gram live,” she earnestly prayed.
Amanda usually rode home from school on the school bus with Tom and Johnny. Two weeks later, she knew something was wrong. Dad was waiting for them at the school and had an anguished expression on his face.
He said nothing, but waited until they all got into the car. “Gram died today. The doctors tried very hard, but they couldn’t save her.”
After the five-mile ride home, Amanda rushed into the house. Mom was back at home and Amanda could tell that she had been crying. She gave her mother a quick hug. Then she ran to her room, threw herself down on her bed and cried for hours.
They went through the motions of Christmas that year. It was a sad time and no one was really in the mood to celebrate. Amanda, of course, could not spend the week with Gram. Grandpa didn’t even get a tree from the woods. On Christmas Day they opened the few presents they had. Finally they were down to the last present.
“Amanda, this last one is yours.” Tom handed her a package.
The handwriting on the outside was her mother’s. But immediately when she opened the package, she knew it was from Gram. It contained an exquisite crocheted angel about six inches high. Next to the angel was a note in her grandmother’s handwriting.
Amanda Jane, here is “an angel to watch over you.” I finished it just before I came to the hospital. I will be in surgery tomorrow, and I don’t know what the future holds. But I know Who holds the future. Don’t be afraid. I’m looking forward to being with Jesus if that is what He has for me. Here is a Bible verse for you from Hebrews 13:5: “. . .for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Remember that Jesus is with you forever. He will never abandon you. Love forever, Gram
Amanda clutched the angel as tears streamed down her face. How could a Christmas be this sad and this special at the same time? She knew she would treasure Gram’s last gift —and her example of faith—forever.
© Janet Seever 2004 Used with permission. All rights reserved.
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