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Marky sat on the porch and looked out into the garden. He sighed deeply. It was growing dark and the flowers were nodding gently in the evening breeze. It was like they were bending their heads politely saying, "Good evening, Marky!" Sometimes he felt as though they really might say something like that if they could talk. Some of them had beautiful little mouths painted on their faces, but they never said anything - not out loud, that is. But Marky was sure they thought things you could hear, if you listened with your heart and not with your ears.
The fireflies winked brightly across the garden, and for a moment Marky wished he could fly like that and shine so prettily. And then he sighed again, this time quite sadly. Behind him be heard his mother ask, "Why, Marky, what's the matter? Such a deep sigh for a little boy."
Marky looked up at his mother. You could always tell your troubles to Mother. She wouldn't laugh the way Sally Ann down the street had laughed when he talked to her this afternoon about his trouble. He tumbled his words out, "Mother, have you ever seen an angel — an honest to goodness real angel?"
Mother smiled. "Is that what is troubling you?"
Marky nodded, and Mother sat down beside him on the porch steps. "Well, I'll tell you, Marky. They aren't so easy to find, and maybe you don't look in the right place."
"Does it take awfully sharp eyes to see angels, Mother? Maybe my eyes aren't strong enough? Would I need glasses to see one?" Marky asked excitedly.
Mother took Marky 's hand in hers. "Not quite that, Marky. Angels are different from the fairies and gnomes and the little elemental folk we've read stories about. Angels are - well, they are like older brothers and sisters to us."
Marky shook his head puzzedly. "How?"
"It 's - well, they went through a stage of evolution similar to our human one many ages ago. It's like your big brother, Tommy. He 's already graduated from school, and you 're still in school. So he knows many things you don't, and can help in many ways you haven't yet learned."
"But," Marky protested, "I'll grow fast and catch up."
''Of course, you will," Mother replied, ''just as someday we'll all be like the angels."
Marky smiled brightly at this thought. "Tell me more about the angels."
Mother continued. "Well, the angels have their work to do, the same as we do. In all of God's universe, each Being has its own part to do, and angels have work to do especially for us. We are their younger brothers and sometimes we are very difficult younger brothers to help, I'm afraid."
"How?" asked Marky.
"Oh," Mother answered, "once the angels were closer to men, and many people were able to see them and receive help directly from them. You know there are stories about it in the Bible."
"Why isn't it like that now?" Marky asked with troubled eyes.
Mother explained, "Because men became wicked so their eyes no longer could see the angels. They felt so grown up they no longer had pure enough souls to commune with their angel brothers. They were more interested in seeking excitement and fun—as they called it. They hurt each other in this kind of fun, and the angels could not come near such wickedness. They stay away from selfishness, and greed, and evil today, for where these things are the heart is not pure enough to commune with angels."
Marky sighed. "What work do they do?".
Mother answered, "They have different kinds of work to do. Some direct the fairies and the elemental kingdoms so these little creatures are able to grow and learn. Some angels are the builders of the universe. They help nature form mountains and rivers. They help mothers to build the tiny baby bodies when a child is to be born. They work with the thoughts of men - and weave the best thoughts that hover over a community so that the evil thoughts will not bring evil upon the people. Sometimes the thoughts are so horrible it is difficult for them."
Marky nodded understandingly. "That's why you want me to not get mad and think good things isn't it? Do my prayers help them, too?"
Mother nodded. "Oh, yes, every one of us helps in that way so the world can grow to be a happier place. You see, too, many evil thoughts make droughts, famines, and floods. Nature returns to man just what man sends out. The angels hovering near try to inspire man so he can deserve a better life. Every good deed they bless and expand so that all men may reap the benefit."
Marky asked, "And are there angels who work in music and in the forests?"
"Yes," Mother answered. "They work in the ethers in watery substances of the universe. They weave all the patterns we see, because they are wiser and know how to obey all the laws. We humans haven't learned obedience yet. Think of the damage we would do by our ignorance without their help."
Marky smiled. "Do you think I'll be able to see an angel someday, Mother - really see one?"
"Perhaps, you will be one of the blessed ones who have such vision," Mother answered.
Marky thought a moment. It was the dearest wish of his heart to know more about the wonderful Beings called angels.
The next day he told his father about the things Mother had told him, and his father nodded and said: "Your mother is right. There's just one thing I can add to what she has told you. It might help you to see an angel some day."
Marky 's face brightened and his eyes sparkled. "What will help me to see an angel, Daddy?"
His father answered, "Well, Marky, your mother has told you about the being good part - trying to be like the angels so that your wishes are like their own wishes and so your eyes will be more in tune with the light. The other part is wanting. What you want very deeply is sometimes given to you when you do all the rest of your part."
Marky clapped his hands. "But I do want to. All the time I keep trying. When I work in the garden I think of the little fairies and elves also working there, and then of the wonderful angels who are directing the little fairies, too."
Across the room Mother smiled at them both. She had just come in from the garden and her arms were full of flowers. "Still talking about angels, Marky?"
Dad and Marky laughed back at Mother, and Dad said, "Yes, and do you know I've heard people say it is sometimes easier to see them in great and beautiful forests where the loveliness of nature is more in tune with them than the disharmony that exists where people are unloving."
Mother said, "Marky, has Daddy told you about where we are going on his vacation?"
Dad said, "No, I wanted you to be with us. You see, Marky, your mother and I thought that perhaps on this vacation we would go camping in one of the national forests near here."
Marky spoke softly, "And I can really look for an angel there, can't I?''
Mother and Dad nodded, and they kissed Marky tenderly as he started off to bed to dream of his vacation in the forest where he could see an angel.
And Marky's dream did come true. Marky was in the forest where the family was camping. He had been having a splendid time sitting so quietly under a tall elm tree that the young deer had come close by. His heart was full of love for the beautiful little creatures as he offered them pieces of bread from his pockets.
His heart was full with happiness and peace, and while he sat there a wonderful thing happened. As he looked up at the tree he saw long flowing sheaths of light brightened into the pattern of an angelic figure before his eyes. The forest was still and yet there seemed to be the swell of music everywhere about him. He felt great waves of love washing through him, and a beautiful face smiled upon him.
Marky felt as though all the love and light and goodness in the world were pouring through him. He saw the sweet face still regarding him from the great height, and then the light was so bright he had to close his eyes. Even with his eyes closed he still felt the music and love and brightness all about him.
When he opened his eyes, Mother and Dad stood beside him. Their hands rested lightly upon his shoulders. He looked up at them inquiringly. They smiled down upon him, and he knew from the glow in their eyes that they had seen the angel, too.
Marky asked softly, "Some day will I be like that?"
It was Mother who answered, "Some day all of us will be like that, Marky, and the world will be a very wonderful place when we all are so beautiful and loving."
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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