Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: ASKEW (06/07/18)
TITLE: A Holy Halo
By Elaine Hemingway
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“Take a breath, lovey, and come, sit a minute. You’re safe here.” The voice had a low, vibrant timbre, surprising in its strength. “You look as if you need a break and I’ll watch out for you.”
Moira barely hesitated, surprising herself with the alacrity in which she seated herself beside the strange lady, even accepting the gentle gloved hand that reached to her knee. “What made you so panicky, dear, if you don’t mind my asking?”
The tears came unexpectedly, replacing the hurt and anger with a gentle wash of self-pity. “My husband. Jealous. Doesn’t believe me. Swearing. Been drinking.” The words tumbled out, staccato-like in intensity. “Waking the children. Wanting to stop him shouting. Went into the garden.” Slowing, then fading, words steadying as brown eyes met blue again and breathing calmed. “Why can’t he understand? I’m not the one who had a one-night stand, but he did. And now he’s blaming me.”
Slowly the story stumbled on while the old lady’s hat nodded sympathetically as if her head moved to background music. A husband had strayed but used a verbal attack to disguise his guilt. A business associate had asked after his wife’s health and a jealous reaction had convinced him that she had encouraged the man to the extent of a betrayal. Retaliation to her supposed infidelity had led to his own which was excused by his claim of being under the influence of alcohol. How to mend the rift? How to solve the problem? How could an old lady be expected to understand but yet the story unfolded under her sympathetic ears?
“Have you told your Heavenly Father all you have told me?”
“Oh, no. How could I? There is so much evil going on in the world He must have far more to deal with than my little problems.”
“Au contraire, little cabbage. He cares for every detail and loves you more than you can imagine.”
“Now I am really surprised. Who are you? You speak so wisely, even using French words, yet here you sit at a bus stop late at night when no bus is due, and you ask me about my Heavenly Father. What makes you think I am a Christian?” Moira blew her nose and wiped the remnant of tears from her face. The street light shed an eerie glow on the hat, off-centre above the piercing blue eyes that shone with kindness and compassion.
“It’s recognisable in your hurt and the knowledge that you will have to forgive, difficult though it seems. Forgiveness starts with recognition of our own faults then moves on to forgiveness of others as God forgives you. It may seem difficult but call on the Lord’s help. He has more experience than we. Remember God’s holiness demands our obedience.”
Moira looked down at the scuffed shoes of her companion then up to the stained and wrinkled coat.
“I have been so angry and impatient,” she murmured, “and critical of everything going wrong, often through my own neglect. I’m going home now and will try to make amends.”
“Then I suggest you take up your Bible and read Psalm 103, especially verses 8-13 and remember that your Lord loves you.”
Moira took the soft, gloved hand on her knee and looked once more into the piercing blue eyes.
“Please come with me. I want to make you a meal, give you something for your journey, and even some clothing if you don’t mind my charity.”
“Hush, child. There is no need. Go home, and rejoice. I love you, too.”
Moira watched her walk away, unsteadily at first, heading into the mist, hat still awry but it seemed that her walk was straighter and the hat glowed just before she disappeared and the moon shone down on an empty road.
Like a murmur in the breeze, her voice whispered to Moira’s heart, “I’m always amused at the concept of we angels wearing halos. Mine is always askew.”
Hebrews 13:2. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
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