“Miss Pudgy Angel – it’s time for you to come and lift us out of the fear many are feeling these days.”
I wrote this blog four years ago. Tonight, a friend’s Facebook post began: “I was feeling a little … just a little bit paralyzed by fear today.” Her words echoed within me and I decided to share this again and add something personal at the bottom in the hopes that “Lifted Out of Fear” brings a bit of relief from the fear my friend is experiencing, that I am experiencing and that others may be experiencing.
Many are feeling fear these days … fear of “what next” when people watch the news … fear of flying … fear of a medical diagnosis … fear of aging … fear of an unknown future … fear of pandemics … fear about unemployment … fear of ‘what next’ …
I wish I could say that I’ve never been fearful, but …
I remember a terrifying plane ride when the plane heaved and starting falling, luggage began to come out of overhead bins, and people screamed. My hands were in a death grip on the arms of the seat. My breathing was shallow and swift as my mind raced through possible scenarios. I was scared … big time.
“God, help,” I heard myself whisper as the crying around me seemed to increase. And then, *she* appeared. Miss Pudgy Angel.
Well, that’s what I called her when I was given her as a gift many years earlier. She sat on my mantle for years and years and I delighted in her presence and in her sweet and gentle smile. Why I thought of her at that moment, I didn’t know, but I was grateful. Her image brought a smile to my face and for just an instant my concentration was on her … not on the fear.
I soon found myself imagining Miss Pudgy Angel with three of her pudgy angel friends: Miss Pudgy Angel was underneath the nose of the plane, two of her friends were under each wing of the plane, and one was under the plane’s tail. Each was working to stabilize the plane and help the plane climb back into its proper flying pattern.
The more I visualized Miss Pudgy Angel and her friends, it seemed that there was less and less space for the fear to take over my thoughts. Slowly, I realized that my breathing had slowed down … my grip on the armrest had lightened … and I was smiling! Those four pudgy angels were ridiculously funny! They huffed and puffed and pushed their pudgy arms into place. And as I continued to visualize the four of them under the plane, lifting it, stabilizing it, the more I became aware that the heaving of the plane had slowed and my fear was dissipating. Do I understand what happened in that moment in the sky? Not for a second.
Of course, there was no Miss Pudgy Angel or her pudgy-angel-friends underneath the plane.
It’s not surprising that giving serious attention to the existence of angels is difficult. If angels are part of the realm of the Spirit, that’s the realm of the unknown and the mysterious, and it’s not a world to which many can easily relate.
But in the Book of Job in the Old Testament, these words give rise to the possible reality: “God does speak. Now, one way. Now another, though we may not perceive it.” To believe that there is a Holy Other, Creator, By-Whatever-Name, to believe that such a Holy One speaks to us, and to believe that such communication happens through the form of an angel, well, that takes an openness – an openness to Mystery.
Do i believe in the possibility of angels? I did then. I do now. Many times since that moment-in-the-sky, I have uttered / prayed / whispered / thought words of gratitude. Were the pilot and co-pilot, crew, air traffic controllers, my Miss Pudgy Angel and her friends … angels that day? I don’t know.
I just know that for that brief terrifying moment, when I visualized Miss Pudgy Angel and her friends lifting the plane, as the pilot, co-pilot, crew and air traffic controllers were working hard to stabilize the plane and get it back on its flight pattern, I was being lifted out of fear.
This week, fear seems to be welling up inside me as dental surgery looms to extract a tooth revealed total decay underneath a Crown and the tooth (repaired decades ago with amalgam – mercury – which was standard practice at the time) was revealed.
Over fifteen years ago, when I received a devastating diagnosis of mercury poisoning. I lived with constant pain, helplessly watched as the muscles in my body and mind began to atrophy because of the poisoning and never returned to my place of employment. Unexpected, far-too-early retirement struck me in the face. I was told that while I wouldn’t die from the poisoning, there would be days when I wish I had. The specialist was right. He told me that I still had some amalgam in my teeth and the advice he gave me then and dentists have given me since over the intervening years was “if a tooth with amalgam becomes a problem, extract it. You can’t take the chance of exposure to it ever again.” That’s where I was last week at last week’s consultation. When the surgeon spoke the ‘there are complications’ words , the fear was overwhelming. My usual “go to” prayer is Dame Julian of Norwich’s “All shall be well. All shall be well. All manner of thing shall be well” and words from Scripture, but if my blood pressure was any indication, something more was needed. Nothing was helping.
And then tonight, reading my friend’s message on Facebook, I remembered Miss Pudgy Angel. I remember how she had lifted me out of fear long ago and decided to share the story and image with my friend and on the Soulistry blog for others.
This Thursday afternoon, when I am seated in the dental surgeon’s chair, I will pray Dame Julian’s prayer, along with Scripture passages, and envision Miss Pudgy Angel, lifting me out of fear.
To my friend whose words on FB this night sparked an addition to the original blog post about Miss Pudgy Angel, and to all who experience fear (of whatever form for whatever reason), find words that comfort, and recall an image that puts a smile on their face … even if only for a moment.
And if you can’t find such an image, feel free to think of Miss Pudgy Angel. That’s what I’ll be doing. 🙂
© June Maffin