“Mom, can people marry angels?” eleven-year-old Matt, a forenoon shadow of the man who was to be gazed up at the picture, his face glimmering with a light that seemed to originate somewhere deep inside him.
Taken somewhat aback, Jenny didn’t answer at first. Matt had always been an unusual child and he could come up with some very interesting questions.
“No, Matt,” his mother said slowly, squatting to retie an errant shoelace of his, “angels and people are not the same. Jesus said angels in heaven never marry.”
But Mom, if they are different then why does the angel in the picture look just like a real lady? She‘s the most beautiful lady, uh angel, I‘ve ever seen!”
“Oh, dear,” Jenny thought pinching her brows together between thumb and forefinger. “I think I’m in for it.” Once wound, Matt didn’t tick down very soon.
“It’s because angels, when they appear on earth, often take human form. Besides, Matt, you know artists sometimes draw things the way they see them in their head, not necessarily the way they really are.”
“Maybe so, but you also told me Jesus said with God all things are possible. Didn’t he say that, Mom?” Matt stretched himself as tall as he could and puffed out his chest. “And you said if we pray for something and believe strong enough, and don’t quit, God will answer.”
Jenny felt a knot forming in her upper abdomen. “Matt, yes, but trust me, there are some things God just doesn’t change His mind about. It would be wrong to pray for something that is not His will, something that is against nature.”
Their dialogue kept up for quite some time, but eventually Matt's questions began to ebb. After a few minutes in thoughtful silence, he shrugged in an exaggerated manner and ambled off. His mother heard the door to his bedroom click shut.
Jenny felt that maybe, just maybe, she had convinced Matt. She was tempted to take the picture down though and shove it in the furthest corner of the attic.
Still... she had long cherished the print for its sweet theme of angel guardianship over unknowing children.
“You’ll never guess what Matt came up with today,” she blurted to her husband as soon he walked through the door that evening.
“Now, what?” Tom Lewis quirked his upper lip one direction, his lower another, making Jenny laugh in spite of herself.
“Okay, so do we take the picture down, or leave it?” Jenny queried after she'd finally gotten it all out of her system.
“I say we leave it.”
Jenny had already made her mind, but hearing Tom echo her decision clinched the matter.
Matthew Lewis spun through high school, then college, with the smooth rhythm of a billowing, silver fly line, sun-dancing in the morning light: he was athletic, graceful, brilliant. And he was also still stubborn.
A year and a decade had passed since the boyhood incident, but the angel picture still hung where it always had. Matthew's parents sometimes reminisced their son’s insistence that with God all things are possible, even wifely angels.
And though he never spoke a word of it, through the years the vision had remained bright for Matt as the day he first vowed undying devotion. The unblemished being floating above a boy and a girl on a rickety old bridge was never far away.
And then one day Matthew, now quite the man, glowed as always he had when deeply affected. "Mom and Dad, I’d like you to meet Vangie.”
“The Lewis's I presume? May I call you Tom and Jenny?” Dark and lively Evangeline made a teasing, small curtsy at Matthew’s parents.
I’d say they did a fair job controlling ominous twitches dimpling at the corners of two sets of lips. Evangeline to be Lewis didn’t look a thing like the ethereal spirit of the flowing golden tresses.
Unless of course one sees, as they did, a likeness reflected in their son's wholly love-blind eyes? (And maybe just a slight resemblance somewhere around her wings.)
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