Evie finished unpacking her new belongings, and lay on her bed, staring at the ceiling. The cool, darkness of the room and the quiet soothed. Aching temples throbbed; relief only came from closing her eyes and hoping no further stimulation or conversations would occur.
As Grace walked towards her room, she didn’t give her sister eye contact, hoping she would take the hint and leave her alone.
Gracie’s altogether too perky voice shattered the quiet. “Hey. There you are,”
She could feel her headache returning, but steeled herself and graciously looked up.
Gracie plopped herself down on the bed next to her. “Hi…hey, move over so I can join you.”
Sighing, she obliged.
“Now, excuse my getting real personal all at once, but I’m really perplexed...why would you, being an angel, who stands before the throne of God, and even sees Jesus face to face, want to become human?”
Gracie’s question contained no malice, but the words touched raw emotions. Evie felt them rising again. Tears started falling, and all the pain she had kept at bay returned. “I’m not going to lie to you, Gracie.” Her chin began to quiver. “I think I’ve made a big mistake. I’m scared. I feel like the Father and the Holy Spirit have left me to fend for myself.” Her voice choked as she faced heavenward. “I thought you loved me. How could you abandon me like this, Father?” Her words accused the One who had just recently hugged her and held her in His arms. “I feel so empty...so alone. I don’t understand…” Words stopped as tears continued to fall down her face.
“Oh, Evie,” Gracie said, coming over to her and hugging her gently. “I can only imagine how scared you must feel. I don’t understand why you wanted to live among humans so badly, but I do remember Gabriel saying that you wanted to find out what ‘redemption’ means.”
Gracie’s compassion helped her to find her composure. “Yes. My curiosity about redemption started this crazy journey. I wanted to know what it’s like to experience it for myself, firsthand. I guess I should be careful for what I wish.” She managed a weak smile.
“Well, my dearest sister Evelyn Anne Chen — I suspect you’ll find out soon enough. I will say, however, that the thing that makes our redemption necessary is our hearts. Jeremiah said, ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?’ Even those of us with the best of intentions constantly find ourselves needing to ask for forgiveness. I understand all too well what Paul meant when he said he felt like a living contradiction. He wanted to do what is good, but his heart was full of evil.”
She had to let that one sink in a little bit before she answered with a sigh. “Oh dear. That sounds a little scary. Now I’m really afraid of going through with this. I’m not sure where I stand with The Father, The Lamb or Ruache Ha-Kodesh -- whom I think you call the ‘Holy Spirit.’ I don’t know how the Lamb expects me to be thankful when He ignores me. It hurts my feelings. What am I supposed to do?”
“Well, I guess you’ll just have to trust that God and Jesus really do love you.”
The nagging thoughts in her mind needed to stop. Gracie had just deflected all the doubts she had raised, and her answers all came from the Letter to Mankind. Being human was frustrating enough: she found it a little maddening to feel like she didn’t quite measure up somehow. The humanity she had observed for a long time, now intimidated her. Since Gracie had mentioned how wicked the human heart could be, she asked, “Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you did the wrong thing?”
“Oh my, yes. I’ve done many things I’m not proud of.” Her new sister’s visage turned sad as her voice trailed off. “Boy...you just brought up some painful memories from my past.” Gracie paused a few moments, looked down and became quiet. “I didn’t exactly act like a saint in college. Let’s just say my relationships with guys weren’t motivated by the best of intentions. I was mostly an angry young woman then; I didn’t really care much about the guys I met. I just...slept with most of the guys I met.”
Gracie’s eyes glassed over. The conversation stopped for a few moments. “I’m not proud of what I did, but I can’t change the past: it’s my reality,” she said, blinking back tears. “Don’t sell yourself cheap like that, Evie. You’ll bear the scars for the rest of your life. Even now anger hinders my relationships.”
“Oh dear. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to cause you pain. Are you all right?”
“Yes. I’m okay. I just need to gather myself.” Gracie collected herself, and once again turned her eyes to Evie.
“No offense, but I certainly hope I won’t do anything like that. It makes my skin crawl to think of someone using me.” She paused, trying carefully to choose her next words. “So, what made you want to sleep with boys like that?”
Gracie’s sad eyes turned down again. “I tried to make boys the answer to my problems: I thought I was ugly, nerdy, and dorky -- you name it. I was the obedient older daughter, who always did what her parents expected of her. I guess I sort of rebelled -- a lot.”
This perplexed her. “I’m not sure I understand. I thought being obedient and responsible is what we should do.” Her remark caused Gracie to look away for a moment, blinking back more tears. She felt a little guilty, although she wasn’t exactly sure why.
Gracie emotionally continued. “It is a good thing; there’s nothing wrong with obedience or being responsible at all. I, unfortunately, had to find that out the hard way. I tried to be what I really wasn’t, and it bit me. Bad.”
“Did some guy hurt you, Gracie?” It was her turn to feel compassion, realizing her questions dug up pain for Gracie, whose eyes welled with tears, and whose arms hung limply. Righteous indignation again arose in the one who abhorred evil. The poor thing looked helpless, like her. See? Your situation can’t be that bad. Tender arms held Gracie, and hugged her gently, while Gracie’s tears fell on her blouse.
Gracie’s words choked. “Boy. I guess sometimes, it hits you hard, like it was yesterday. I haven’t thought about Brian in a while.” Gracie sat still and silent, while tears fell. Gracie’s emotions eventually subsided. “He and I dated for a year,” Gracie finally said. “I thought we had a serious relationship, only to find him sleeping with someone else; no explanation, no reason. He just cast me aside like an afterthought. I guess what hurts the worst is that he acted like what we had meant absolutely nothing.”
Gracie’s hurt expression bothered her. People using each other appalled her, and made her angry for her sister’s sake. Her angelic warrior sensibilities aroused. “Why do men do things like that? It’s so cold-blooded; so…so callous.” Her hands instinctively reached to her side for her swords, then stopped abruptly when she realized they were no longer there.
“What are you doing?”
She smiled sheepishly. “I was reaching for my swords. I guess I instinctively feel the need for them when I hear of people doing awful things like that. I guess I was going after your Brian like I would have when I was...well, in my former life.”
“Oh. You still feel your angelic instincts?”
“Yes. Sorry.” It reminded her of her former self and her current state. She fought off the sadness.
“Oh, no. I’m sorry. I know you’re still adjusting to being human.” Gracie held her hands after wiping the tears from her eyes. “Buck up, kiddo; I know it will take some adjusting, but you’ll do well, I’m sure.”
Gracie’s countenance brightened. “You’ll soon meet my boyfriend, Peter. He is everything I’ve always wanted: a gentleman who is kind and supportive; he lets me ‘be me.’ He’s worth all the pain and the loneliness I went through.”
“So when do I get to meet your Prince Charming?” she said, grinning.
Gracie laughed. “You’ll meet Peter shortly. In the meantime, I’ll be here to guide you through life’s ups and downs.” Grinning wryly, she added, “You may find that to be both a blessing and a curse.”
“Why a curse? You wouldn’t purposefully make my life miserable, would you?” She involuntarily pulled away, crossing her arms in front of her.
Gracie laughed again. “Oh no, sweetie. I won’t willingly make your life difficult; but in case you hadn’t guessed by now, I’m not perfect either. I’m sure your journey won’t be easy for either of us. But hey: I’m looking forward to it. Are you with me, sis?”
“Well, at least with you as my new sister I won’t be entirely alone on this journey. That’s comforting, considering what I’ve been through today.”
“By the way; how old are you?”
“Michael told me I am twenty-five years old, by human standards. And my birthday is November 14th,” since it’s the day I was called to join humanity:
“I’m twenty-seven. In fact, I just had my birthday November 2nd.”
“Oh. Really? Well, happy belated birthday.”
“Thank you. Anyway, this is going to be fun. Now I’ll have someone to go shopping and girl-talk with. My...our brother Tony is nice and all, but he’s a guy. You’ll understand soon enough how guys and girls differ. I’ll leave that to you as your homework.”
The clock on the wall in the kitchen chimed eleven times. “Wow. Tomorrow is a workday. I’ve got to go to bed.”
“Yes, and I’ve got to get a job. I definitely want to pay my way.”
“Yep, we both have busy days tomorrow.” Gracie, headed for her bedroom, and turned around just before her door. “I’ll leave you to getting yourself organized. Towels and linens are in the linen closet in your bathroom. If you need anything, just holler. I’ll leave my cell phone number on the island in the kitchen, in case you need to get hold of me. Good night, Evie, and welcome to the family. I love you, and am glad you’re my sister...couldn’t have asked for better.”
A hug from her new sister made her feel better. “Good night, Gracie,” she said, and went to her bedroom, alone with her thoughts. Sitting alone in her new room, she pondered the recent turn of events. She was now human and it scared her. She was away from the direct presence of the holy Trinity, and subject to the curse that had been pronounced on the world. Soon thereafter, she heard a gunshot in the street below, and jumped, immediately looking out the window. “Oh my…this is bad…” She left her bedroom to investigate. As she walked towards the door, Gracies peered out from her room, and asked, “Where are you going at this time of night?”
“I heard a gunshot, and I want to find out what’s going on.”
“Oh…that happens quite often: I’ve kinda gotten used to it.”
Evie’s eyes shot open wide. “You’ve gotten used to it? A person has probably been murdered and you’re ‘used to it’?” She said no more, but turned and ran out of the apartment and into the street, where lights from police cars and EMT vans blinked and flashed. She ran up to an officer just outside the crime scene and asked, “Was anyone injured?”
“The victim is dead, ma’am,” the officer replied. “…died almost immediately from internal bleeding. The perp has been arrested and is being taken to headquarters for arraignment.”
Looking at the nearby ambulance, a stretcher contained the still body of the victim; eyes had been closed, and the body was still. The person’s spirit life had obviously left. Seeing death up close and personally, and realizing she was just as human, started to shake without being able to control it, immediately followed by a sick feeling in her stomach. The queasiness soon caused her to vomit. Overwhelmed, she started crying, and ran back to the apartment. Once inside the door, Grace asked her, “Are you alright, honey?”
“No, I’m not. I’m sickened by the sight of what I just saw.”
“I’m sure it was gruesome, but unfortunately, it happens all the time.”
“I don’t like being human. Life is a precarious thing. You can die, and possibly go to Hell at any moment.”
“I know honey; I know. But you’ll see that you can’t always prevent such things. But you can know the Lord, and even if you die a violent death, you’ll be with the Lord.”
Shaking, and tears streaming down her face, she spat out, “I don’t want to die a violent death. I want to be an angel again,” then ran to her room. “Abba, please…take me back. This is very frightening, and I’ve never seen it before with human eyes. I’m scared.” But no answer came, and her tears continued to flow. Finally exhausted, the lights on her nightstand went off, and she got up, and changed into her nightclothes. Yawning in spite of herself, she lay down on he bed, and finally fell asleep.