Angels on Your Shoulder

Angels on Your Shoulder

This one really touched my heart

posted by Susan Gregg

A friend of mine sent me this article a number of years ago. I did some research and Father John Powell did write this story. So I give thanks to him and to Tommy. It is a wonderful reminder that seekers seldom find, it is by opening our heart and allowing love to be our guide that the magic of life happens.
hands and heart
This photo is of a heart rattle given to me by Georgia, who also took the picture.
Raw Elements Photography
John Powell, a retired professor at Loyola University writes about a student in his Theology of Faith class named Tommy.
Some twelve years ago, I stood watching my students file into the classroom for our first session in the Theology of Faith. That was the first day I first saw Tommy. My eyes and my mind both blinked. He was combing his long flaxen hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders.
It was the first time I had ever seen a boy with hair that long. I guess it was just coming into fashion then. I know in my mind it isn’t what’s on your head but what’s in it that counts; but on that day I was unprepared and my emotions flipped. I immediately filed Tommy under “S” for strange—very strange.
Tommy turned out to be the atheist in residence in my Theology of Faith class. He constantly objected to, smirked at or whined about the possibility of an unconditionally loving Father/God. We lived with each other in relative peace for one semester, although I admit he was for me at times a serious pain in the back pew.
When he came up at the end of the course to turn in his final exam, he asked in a slightly cynical tone, “Do you think I’ll ever find God?”
I decided instantly on a little shock therapy. “No!” I said very emphatically.
“Oh,” he responded, “I thought that was the product you were pushing.”
I let him get five steps from the classroom door and then called out, “Tommy! I don’t think you’ll ever find Him, but I am absolutely certain that He will find you!” He shrugged a little and left my class and my life.
I felt slightly disappointed at the thought that he had missed my clever line, “He will find you!” At least I thought it was clever.
Later I heard that Tommy had graduated and I was duly grateful. Then a sad report. I heard Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could search him out, he came to see me.
When he walked into my office, his body was very badly wasted, and the long hair had fallen out as a result of chemotherapy. But his eyes were bright and his voice firm for the first time, I believe. “Tommy, I’ve thought about you so often. I hear you are sick,” I blurted out.
“Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer in both lungs. It’s a matter of weeks.”
“Can you talk about it, Tom?” I asked.
“Sure, what would you like to know?” “What’s it like to be twenty-four and dying?”
“Well, it could be worse” he replied.
“Like what?”
“Well, like being fifty and having no values or ideals, like being fifty and thinking that booze, seducing women and making money are the real ‘biggies’ in life.”
I began to look through my mental file cabinet under “S” where I had filed Tommy as strange. (It seems as though everybody I try to reject by classification, God sends back into my life to educate me.)
“But what I really came to see you about,” Tom said, “is something you said to me on the last day of class.” (He remembered!) He continued, “I asked you if you thought I would ever find God and you said, ‘No!’ which surprised me. Then you said, ‘But He will find you.’ I thought about that a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense at that time.” (My clever line. He thought about that a lot!)
“But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me it was malignant, that’s when I got serious about locating God. When the malignancy spread into vital organs, I really began banging bloody fists against the bronze doors of heaven. But God did not come out. In fact, nothing happened. Did you ever try anything for a long time with great effort and with no success? You get psychologically glutted, fed up with trying. Then you quit. Well, one day I woke up, and instead of throwing a few more futile appeals over that high brick wall to a God who may or may not be there, I just quit. I decided I didn’t really care about God, about an after life, or anything like that. I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more profitable.
“I thought about you and your class and remembered something else you said: ‘The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to go through life and leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you had loved them.’
“So, I began with the hardest one, my Dad. He was reading the newspaper at the time when I approached him. ‘Dad. “Yes, what?” he asked without lowering the newspaper. ‘Dad, I would like to talk with you.’ “Well, talk.” ‘I mean it’s really important.’ The newspaper came down three slow inches. “What is it?” ‘Dad, I love you. I just wanted you to know that.’
“Tom smiled at me and said it with obvious satisfaction, as though he felt a warm and secret joy flowing inside.
“The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then my father did two things I could never remember him ever doing before. He cried and he hugged me. We talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning. It felt so good to be close to my father, to see his tears, to feel his hug, to hear him say that he loved me.
“It was easier with my mother and little brother. They cried with me and we hugged each other and started saying real nice things to each other. We shared things we had been keeping secret for so many years. I was only sorry about one thing; that I waited so long. Here I was, just beginning to open up to the people I had actually been close to.
“Then, one day I turned around and God was there. He didn’t come to me when I pleaded with Him. I guess I was like an animal trainer holding out a hoop, ‘C’mon, jump through. C’mon, I’ll give you three days, three weeks.’
“Apparently God does things in his own way and at his own hour. But the important thing is that he was there. He found me. You were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for him.”
“Tommy,” I practically gasped, “I think you are saying something very important and much more universal than you realize. To me, at least, you are saying the surest way to find God is not to make him a private possession, a problem solver, or an instant consolation in time of need, but rather by opening to love. You know, the Apostle John said that. He said, ‘God is love, and anyone who lives in love is living with God and God is living in him.’ Tom, could I ask you a favor? You know, when I had you in class you were a real pain. But (laughingly) you can make it up to me now. Would you come to my Theology of Faith course and tell them what you have just told me? If I told them the same thing it wouldn’t be half as effective as if you were to tell them.”
“Ooh, I was ready for you, but I don’t know if I’m ready for your class.”
“Tom, think about it. If and when you are ready, give me a call.”
In a few days Tom called, said he was ready for the class, that he wanted to do that for God and for me. So we scheduled a date. However, he never made it.
He had another appointment, far more important than the one with me and my class.
Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed. He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of man has ever seen or the ear of man has ever heard or the mind of man has ever imagined.
Before he died, we talked one last time. “I’m not going to make it to your class,” he said.
“I know, Tom.”
“Will you tell them for me? Will you tell the whole world for me?”
“I will, Tom. I’ll tell them. I’ll do my very best.”
So, to all of you who have been kind enough to read this simple statement about love, thank you. And to you, Tommy, somewhere in the sunlit, verdant hills of heaven, I told them, Tommy, as best I could.

One of my favorite stories

posted by Susan Gregg

Someone sent me this story years ago. I think it is a wonderful reminder about the magic of life, that the thoughts we water most often bear fruit and that at times I have no idea what is going on behind the scenes. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
wildflower
The Cracked Pot
A water-bearer carries two large pots on a yoke across his shoulders up the hill from the river to his master’s house each day. One has a crack and leaks half its water out each day before arriving at the house. The other pot is perfect and always delivered a full portion of water after the long walk from the river.
Finally, after years of arriving half-empty and feeling guilty, the cracked pot apologized to the water-bearer. It was miserable. “I’m sorry that I couldn’t accomplish what the perfect pot did.”
The water-bearer says, “What do you have to apologize for?”
“After all this time, I still only deliver half my load of water. I make more work for you because of my flaw.”
The man smiled and told the pot. “Take note of all the lovely flowers growing on the side of the path where I carried you. The flowers grew so lovely because of the water you leaked. There are no flowers on the perfect pot’s side.”
With love and aloha,
Susan

Aloha Everyone!

posted by Susan Gregg

Welcome to my new blog. There is a story behind its name. One of my friends in San Diego was a crusty old man with an incredibly beautiful spirit. Whenever he’d say good bye he’d smile broadly and say, ‘Angels on your shoulders!’ At the time I thought it was cute but certainly never expected to write a book about angels.
I am so blessed that I now have the opportunity to show people how to connect with the angels and other celestial beings that always surround us and are so willing to help even though we so seldom acknowledge their presence. Anyone familiar with my work knows that I am very concrete, practical and grounded. Angels can be presented in an airy, fairy way or we can learn to make them an integral part of our lives, using them to help us feel loved and safe enough to risk opening our hearts and our minds to the limitless possibilities life holds.
Writing a book on angels wasn’t particularly on my list of ‘to dos’ but when my agent asked me if I would be interested in writing this encyclopedia I answered with a resounding YES. Writing this book has been such an incredible gift in my life and hopefully it will be in the lives of its readers. I feel like a messenger delivering a reminder that anything is possible and that hope, joy, love, laughter, magic and miracles can become the basis of our everyday lives.
This blog will be a collection of ‘feel good’ stories, practical ways to improve the quality of your life and hopefully your stories as well. Over the years I have collected emails, often by anonymous authors that offer profound insights and expand the way I think about life. So if you have a story or questions feel free to e mail me at susan@angelsonyourshoulder.com. I look forward to getting to know you and sharing the love, light and laughter angels always bring with them.
Remember angels can fly because they take themselves lightly and there are always “Angels on your shoulder!”
With love and aloha,
Susan
My book is now available if you’d like to order it just click here

Silly Sunday

posted by Susan Gregg

IMG_0682
Ginger, with no explanation necessary.
With love and aloha,
Susan

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