“If you have been brutally broken but still have the courage to be gentle to other living beings, then you’re a badass with a heart of an angel.” – Keanu Reeves
There are moments in life when goodness comes knocking and you don’t see it coming.
Years ago, I was hired as an editor on a fantasy novel called The Two Sisters’ Café. I hunkered down and started poring through every word, thought, and scene, when I suddenly realized: holy crap, I’m about to have one profound moment.
Yes, boys and girls: it’s freaky-deaky time.
Little Sarah, the novel’s main protagonist, appeared to me on page twenty-nine, and suddenly, I was reading about myself. My childhood paralleled hers in many ways. Sarah was a child terrorized by a violent, drunk parent. We shared a dark journey of the soul.
I knew the primal fear and despair that mottled Sarah’s heart. As a happy, outgoing child, I’d once held hopes and dreams for myself – until my parents pummeled most of it out of me.
At the time, I didn’t know how much working on this novel (by Elena Yates Eulo and Samantha Harper Macy) would impact my real, grownup life. The more I read, the more I questioned how the hell I’d ever managed to survive my own childhood. Unlike young Sarah, I never had any magical fairy godmothers or other divine beings to step in and save my ass.
Sometimes, while reading their manuscript, I found myself sobbing over my past and those nightmarish years. As I child I’d sit in my room, tucked knees under chin, rocking back and forth, and crying softly, “Where are you God? Why aren’t you stopping this? Please help me, someone, please…”
No one heard me. At least, I didn’t think so. But it was The Two Sisters’ magic that took me back to recalling these strange, otherworldly visits that I hadn’t shared with anyone – I’m talking about visits from twinkling, talking lights.
I was eleven years old, curled up on my bed, door closed, blinds blocking out the sunlight. It was late afternoon when I heard something that sounded like garbled voices. I pulled the pillow over my head. I could still hear them, but couldn’t make out the words.
And then, I opened my eyes.
There, a couple feet away, was a cluster of multicolored lights – the kind you see on a Christmas tree – but hanging mid-air like a body of flickering stars.
I squeezed and rubbed my eyes. The lights grew brighter, the voices louder. Terrified, I covered my ears and begged them to go away. I thought, Great, now I’m going crazy! No wonder my parents hate me!
Over a period of three months the lights appeared to me at least half a dozen times. Each time, I’d beg them to go away. Just leave me alone! I have enough to deal with! This is too much. Finally, they stopped coming and I never saw them again.
By the time I’d finished The Two Sisters’ Café, I’d fallen in love with the story’s unearthly sisters Vannie and Alma, and their young apprentice Sarah. More than that, their supernatural journey had opened a portal to my pain and performed some major healing on my soul – seeping deeper and wider than thirty years of therapy.
It was one of those things you just keep to yourself.
I had residual sadness, however, that I’d never had my own guardian beings to rescue me or offer my parents a kind of “sliding door” second chance. I mean, there’s no such thing, right?
Well, shortly after, I’d read a book by psychic Sylvia Browne (her long talons still freak me out!) and how she described that hearing spirits from the “Other Side” is like listening to radio static: the station’s slightly out of tune but if you listen very closely, you can pick it up. It takes practice. Concentration.
Wow. Ohhhh-kay. I read that part again. I thought about the mumbling lights that had frightened me as a child. I knew they were trying to communicate. But I didn’t understand what was happening. I wasn’t ready.
Over the years, I’ve wondered about those lights. If they came back to me now, could I handle them? I think so (deepest breath). Or, maybe not. I look back now and wonder if they weren’t the answer to my prayers all along: my guardian angel or a familial spirit sent across the dimensions to comfort me.
Like little Sarah – what if I had some kind of fairy godmother or an angel trying to protect me – after all?