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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Angels watching

While I slept between life and death, they kept vigil

Beth, our oldest daughter, entered the room and spread a large, wonderful poster across the bed. First-graders at Grace Lutheran School had made it. Two of my grandchildren were in that class.

The poster read: "All night, all day, angels watching over me, my Lord." The children had drawn angels and written notes all around the sides. My healing continued, even before surgery, through pastoral care from 6-year-old shepherds and a wise teacher. The last words I remembered while being wheeled into the operating room were theirs: "All night, all day, angels watching over me, my Lord." Not sophisticated theology but loving care.

Then the surgery: Will they be able to insert the intubation tube? Will I feel pain this time? Will I live while my heart is dead for three or four hours? Who am I then, a machine, a person, a spirit, a human in Advent time ... waiting? Advent in the operating room. No sounds, no pain, no sensation, no knowledge, no worry, no dream, no fear, no feeling. Advent time alone, dead and yet alive, waiting to be awakened.


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November issue

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