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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Confused (08/16/07)

TITLE: The Great Schema and the Angel
By Teri Wilson
08/23/07


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Angry drops of rain pounded my back as I ran through the parking lot. My dog Angel darted quickly to one side, pulling me along at the other end of the leash. We sloshed through a puddle around a big boulder I would have tripped over if Angel hadn’t dragged me around it.

I reflected on my close call with the rock while we stood shivering in a pool of rainwater in the nursing home entrance.

“Good morning, Angel!” As always, the nurse at the front desk was happy to see us. I adjusted Angel’s Therapy Dog vest.

“Make sure you see the patient in 1104 today. She’s new.”

“No problem. Let’s go, Angel.” We wound our way through the familiar halls, leaving a trail of drops in our wake. When I reached 1104, I knocked softly.

A small voice answered. “Come in.”

“Hello. I brought you a visitor today.”

Angel danced in circles at my feet. I, on the other hand, hesitated, rather shocked by what I saw. There lay the patient, elderly and infirm like all the others, tucked up in her bed. But this patient was swathed in stark black and white, the formal attire of a nun. A woman who still boldly wore the garments of her faith, even now.

“Good morning, Sister. Do you like animals?” I sat in the chair next to the bed and brought Angel up in my lap.

“What do have there?”

“This is Angel, my dog. She’s an English Cocker Spaniel.”

“I don’t understand. Is she an angel or a dog?”

“She’s a dog. Her name is Angel, but she’s not a real angel. I call her that because of the spots on her back.” I pointed to the two symmetrical copper spots on Angel’s shoulders. “They’re shaped just like angel wings.”

“Come here, sweetheart.” The Sister patted the bed beside her.

I arranged Angel’s blanket on the bed and she snuggled up in a little ball beside the nun, her body rising and falling gently with each breath. As the Sister stroked her wings, Angel fell into a peaceful sleep.

“She likes you. You must have a special way with animals.”

“No, I really don’t like animals. But I love angels. Wherever did you find my guardian angel? I didn’t even know she was lost.”

I squirmed in my seat. I had dealt many times with confused patients, some of whom even mistook me for one of their relatives. But, I felt guilty letting a nun think I had brought a real angel to visit.

“She’s not a real angel, Sister. She’s just a dog whose name is Angel.”

“You know when Jesus was in the desert he was with the wild animals and the angels. They were all together.”

I looked at Angel sleeping beside the nun. She didn’t look at all wild. But she wasn’t a real angel, either.

I smiled. “Angel is a good dog. She keeps me company when I’m lonely.”

“I told you. She’s not a dog. She’s an angel. You’re not listening to me.”

“I’m sorry, Sister.” I began to gather Angel up so I could scoop her off the bed.

“Leave her here. You know the Lord commands her to guard you in all your ways. She makes sure you will not even strike your foot against a stone.”

Chills ran up and down my back. “How do you know about the rock?”

The nun didn’t answer. Her eyes were shut, like Angel’s. I shook her shoulder. “How do you know about the rock?”

The nun opened her eyes and whispered, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Deliver me, Father.”

She clutched Angel tightly and let out a great shudder. And, suddenly, she was gone. The frail hand on Angel’s back fell limply onto the bed. I ran into the hallway and screamed for help. Nurses swarmed the room, but the nun had already gone home.

I buried my face in Angel’s downy coat and one of the nurses placed her hand on my shoulder. “Are you okay, dear?”

I nodded.

I left the room, hugging Angel in my arms. I felt her heart beating close to mine. When I reached the front door, I walked outside into the rain. This time, I turned my face to the heavens and let the slender drops fall, covering my head and Angel’s with a fine mist. It was cleansing and comforting, almost like a baptism.

*******

“…He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.” Mark 1:13

“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Psalm 91:11

“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” Psalm 34:7

The Holy Bible, New International Version

Great Schema – The final state of Orthodox monasticism, reached by nuns who have attained a high level of excellence. In some churches, the Great Schema is only given to nuns on their deathbed.


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This article has been read 992 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 08/23/07
Really unique and interesting story. I'm glad you added the note at the end because it gave me a deeper understanding of your story! The characters are well described and I could almost see the little dog, Angel.
Joanne Sher 08/24/07
Absolutely spellbinding story with such depth and love throughout. I also appreciated the notes at the end. Excellent.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/25/07
This story was fascinating all the way through. It really made me think.
Jacquelyn Horne08/27/07
Touching story.
Beth LaBuff 08/28/07
As an animal lover, I enjoyed your creative story. You held my interest throughout. The death of a believer is precious in the Lord's sight. I like the way you created this story.

I have never heard of a "great schema" so you enlightened me. :)
Kristen Hester08/28/07
I really enjoyed this tender, touching story. You described the scenes so well. It was like a movie running through my mind. I could picture the MC and Angel running through the rain, walking into the nun's room, all of it. Great job as always. You are gifted.
George Parler 08/28/07
A very touching moment wonderfully captured in your words. I enjoyed reading this a lot. Thank you.
Michael McBuba08/29/07
A truly heart-touching story! I was held spellbound all throughout! Thanks for your thoughtful creativity, and for heavily underscoring the fact that "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Saints..."
LaNaye Perkins08/29/07
Your story touched my heart. Well Done!
Brenda Welc08/29/07
Another one of those stories that require a box of kleenex! Well written, very heart-warming! Keep writing, this was great!
Betty Castleberry08/29/07
I love Angel. She's real, isn't she? You told this story well. I felt as if I was there. Very well done.
Loren T. Lowery08/29/07
I could picture everything you wrote perfectly. This is simply a great story and reveals many truths about God's abiding comfort and love.
Sara Harricharan 08/29/07
Wow. Didn't see this end coming. You certainly held the element of surprise out 'till the end. Good job. I liked the surreal touch here. ^_^
Lisa Holloway08/30/07
Interesting and mysterious. Good story!
Angela Posey-Arnold08/30/07
I think the nun really saw an angel. Great story.
Well written for sure.
Sheri Gordon08/30/07
Congratulations on your EC. Your writing is very good -- especially the dialogue. I was picturing everything as it was happening. Good job.