“Where Angels Walk,” Stories of the Angels Among Us

“Where Angels Walk,” Stories of the Angels Among Us December 19, 2016

Where Angels Walk was compiled more than written.

Not long after her own son had been rescued from an almost certain death by a mysterious “stranger” on a bitterly cold Christmas Eve, Joan Wester Anderson placed a series of magazine ads asking for angel stories. And while some of the stories chosen seem a bit contrived, in the end they combine to create a and refreshingly reassuring book.

The updated “25th Anniversary Edition” includes a few new stories at the very end. Some are quite brief, more like afterthoughts Anderson just could not resist including.

I’m glad she did that. The insights offered in two of them were especially meaningful to me.

In “Where Are the Children?” two bickering parents do not notice that two of their children have wandered off from their mountain campsite until it’s too late. After hours of searching, the couple is finally reunited with their boys, one of whom explains they were patiently led back to camp by a deer whose “soft brown eyes seemed to be telling him that everything would be all right.”

There are two legends about magical deer in our family. One features a buck whose gaze was so mesmerizingly human that my father lowered his gun and vowed never to hunt again—a promise he kept.

I, myself, was enchanted by a doe and her kid who loped alongside me and my kid in an Arizona forest as if we were old hiking buddies. When they left us at the parking lot, the “real” world felt so dull.

I also enjoyed the “10 Percent Solution,” in which a woman begins to find dimes after a beloved elder becomes gravely ill. After the elder’s passing, they discover that she’d been collecting dimes in a plastic piggy bank for decades. And soon the entire family begins to discover dimes in the oddest places, at the oddest times—little “hellos” from Heaven.

My money angel, on a day when I could not afford the lunch with friends I’d agreed to, sent a $20 bill skittering over my toes in the restaurant parking lot. There was no one else in the lot and the staff had had no inquiries about a loss or theft. And my friends stared as if I’d grown two heads when I told them what had happened.

That, in the end, is why this book is so lovely. It does not profess to offer definitive proof that angels exist. Nor is it an authoritative discussion of the subject. But as you read, you remember your own momentary brushes with the inexplicable.

Were they really angels? Well, as Anderson explains, we Catholics believe there are no less than nine vast choirs of them, each assigned a specific task.

She trusts them to guide her every step, because “they serve God and God wants me to accomplish what he put me on Earth to do. He does the same for you.”

As you read these stories and remember your own, that becomes abundantly clear. And we need a little divine intervention now, more than ever.

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