I was raised to believe I had a guardian angel. In my mind’s eye I can still see those religious portrayals of angels saving people from destruction. The large winged creature holding children back from the edge of a cliff, or guiding them as they cross a river on a rickety bridge. I took comfort in those images as child.
But now I know that accidents happen anyway.
I appreciate the poet Carl Dennis’s thoughts about accidents, luck, and our personal angels.
However busy you are, you should still reserve One evening a year for thinking about your double, The man who took the curve on Conway Road Too fast, given the icy patches that night, But no faster than you did; the man whose car When it slid through the shoulder Happened to strike a girl walking alone From a neighbor’s party to her parents’ farm, While your car struck nothing more notable Than a snowbank. One evening for recalling how soon you transformed Your accident into a comic tale Told first at a body shop, for comparing That hour of pleasure with his hour of pain At the house of the stricken parents, and his many Long afternoons at the Lutheran graveyard. If nobody blames you for assuming your luck Has something to do with your character, Don’t blame him for assuming that his misfortune Is somehow deserved, that justice would be undone If his extra grief was balanced later By a portion of extra joy. Lucky you, whose personal faith has widened To include an angel assigned to protect you From the usual outcome of heedless moments. But this evening consider the angel he lives with, The stern enforcer who drives the sinners Out of the Garden with a flaming sword And locks the gate.
Your personal angel
Our personal angels might not be the same. What kind is yours?