Are you up for engaging in some imaginative thinking with me?
Imagine you are in heaven. Picture what surrounds you, however you imagine it to be. Envision spiritual beings—angels—by your side. Can you see them in your mind’s eye?
A conversation flows between you, carrying the melodic tones of friendship and ethereal love. Then the greatest angel of all speaks, asking whose turn it is to enter the world in human flesh on behalf of all angels, to assist humankind to reach its destiny. A burning fire erupts in your chest. It has the power of a thousand suns. You answer:
I will go.
This is how the prophet Isaiah told of such an experience:
I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
We have all answered such a call. With the state of world civilization as it is, it took the courage of an angel to enter it, to take on human flesh, heredity, and culture.
Near the end of the iconic horror film from 1941, The Wolfman, the Gypsy says this to Lon Chaney, who plays the Wolfman:
The way you walked was thorny, through no fault of your own.
If you know the story, you know why the Wolfman’s path was especially thorny. But we all incarnate into a world with thorns. The essential nature of who we are did not create those thorns. We came to blaze a path through them. If you are here, in the flesh, it is clear that you answered the call to do exactly that. You once said, Here am I; send me. I invoke the memory of that moment now.
I know people—and I expect you do too—who embody this attitude relative to their lives. They are called to take on worthy projects, to bring their gifts to the world, and to be of service. They are saying, Here am I; send me.
Cultural anthropologist Angeles Arrien said this about witnessing another person:
That which we witness, we are forever changed by…
When I witness a person who is answering a higher calling, I am humbled and inspired. I want to fall to my knees to honor the stature they bring to the world. They amplify the call within me and urge me to respond to it ever more completely.
Sometimes, a person’s answering of the call is dramatic. Trumpets blare, and it goes viral on Instagram. But most times, it is far more workmanlike or workwomanlike. They put on their work gloves, take out their tools, and do what needs to be done.
This poem of mine is in praise to the one who raises their hand and says, Here am I; send me.
He is our champion
With flaming, golden hair,
And the courage of young David in his heart.
He goes for us
As the gates of hell open
And every ghost and demon
Of the human heart
Is unleashed by the children of men.
He stands in the heat of noon
When the sun sits high in the cloudless sky,
With a blaze of glory on his brow,
And waits quietly in the cool of the day,
To watch, to listen;
To bow before his Lord.
A choir of angels sings through his words,
Heaven’s light, his eyes,
And his presence fills the air,
Like love’s dew at the first sunrise.
Yes, he is our champion,
Our fair-haired one,
And so much more—
Our beloved, our friend,
Who goes in our name.
Blessed is he.
When a person fulfills the destiny of their incarnation, they are fulfilling the destiny of humankind. They are playing their part in the lineage of all who went before and all who will come after. They stand upon the shoulders of the great ones who preceded them. And in their courage, they blaze a path through the thorns for the ones who come after.
They are not retreating to be comforted by the presence of their ancestors. They honor those who have gone before by their own answer to the call today. And in that answering, they join with the ancestors in the Eternal Moment, which is the only moment in which the deed is done.
The angels who sent such a one are behind them always—loving, comforting, supporting, encouraging, and protecting.
We were sent into the world and to humankind. We were sent to each other to recognize the angel in the flesh before us, to join with each other, and to blaze a path together through the thorns.
Welcome, Earth Angel, to this grand adventure.