Healing can happen in the most unexpected ways. We run away and run away from things that are hard to face, but it is in facing them that we find the possibility of becoming more as people. It is in facing them that we may find healing.
But we can’t do it alone. Everyone needs those ministering angels. They might be friends, pastors, therapists, parents. The angels come in all forms.
The ministering angel of my childhood was my godmother, Maggie, a tiny woman who helped me feel like a person who deserved to be loved, a person who was worth knowing. Godmother was an unofficial title, not given to her when I was baptized but adopted along the way. She was my grandmother’s best friend, and when I finally came into my parents’ lives, adopted after they had been married eleven years, she must have been just as excited for them as my father’s mother. They were a pair of grandparents, in a sense, Maggie the never-married schoolteacher, and Emily, who had to find a way to live again after being widowed at 39. They traveled together, worked on committees together, started Sunday Schools together and squabbled like an old married couple. When Emily became my grandmother, Maggie needed to be something to me, too. The first few birthday cards are signed “Your ‘Step-‘ Maggie,” with a dash after the “step” as if she knew there needed to be more but couldn’t figure out what to call it. Somewhere along the line, someone called her my godmother. They couldn’t have been more right.
When those days came, as they inevitably do, on which my parents seemed to hate me and the rest of the world was against me, when the wounds of life seemed deep and unhealable, I could always think of Maggie, remember what a wonderful person she was, and realize I must not be so loathsome if she could love me so whole-heartedly.
I’ve worried all my life about being abandoned. Isn’t it funny that the one person who was always there didn’t have any actual responsibility for me?