Angel of the Tool-Shed

I work in a vast Tool-Shed.  There are endless, yawning hallways, and I spend a significant amount of time walking those hallways in search of approvals (by that I mean signatures … concurrences … not as desperate as it sounds, but I’m leaving that for now).

There is the “crazy lady who talks to herself”.  That’s how most people refer to her.  I am convinced she’s an angel, though.  She walks, and speaks in full voice, not making eye contact; not noticing the people walking by, trying not to notice her.

One day, I was convinced that she was an actual conduit for the voice of God, as she walked towards me saying, “You’re fat!  You need to lose weight!  When are you going to go on a diet?!  You need to lose weight!”   I was a little stunned because I had been thinking the same thing.  Now, it seemed, even God agreed and he was using this awkward little angel to give me the news.

In hindsight, I expect that wasn’t the voice of God.  I like to think that if God had a 10 second time/space continuum to give me a message, he would focus on something other than my weight.  So, I am left wondering where my angel gets her material.

Then it dawned on me.  She typically doesn’t speak in messages, her dialog sounds more broken and personal, like the thoughts that run through all of our heads.  For instance, if I were to actually voice my thoughts right now, it would sound like, “crap. Headache. Angel in the halls. Fan spinning.  Guys working on the roof.  What a beautiful day.  My voice, finally.”   That is more like what my angel sounds like.  She jumps and rants, just like we all do, but she voices the thoughts in her head.  I don’t know if she can control this or not; I expect not.

I am more impressed with her than ever.  I have never really heard her say anything bad.  Seriously!  How many of us could keep our jobs (any relationships!) if the thoughts in our head just spilled out our mouths??  Consider the implications!  That is why I think she is an angel.  Her whole mind seems to be there for public dissection, and while it may be disgruntled and messy, it seems innocent, naïve and beautiful in its vulnerability.

I actually had the urge to yell, “NICE MULLET” to a lady as I passed her one day in the hallway.  I have also walked past flocks of precisely dressed workers waiting for important people and wanted to snidely say, “what a bunch of #^&*&#  Tools ” (hence my pet name for the place where I work).  I desperately want to leave a post-it note on a portrait that says, “looks like Harrison Ford!”  Sometimes I want to sing (and dance) to the songs playing in my head.  With all this going on in my head, it’s a wonder I can walk straight.  Actually, I’m not positive that I always do.  The point being, I am so glad I can keep the thought in my head private most of the time.  If I couldn’t, I would surely be alone and out of a job.

I am a lesser creature than the angel of the Tool-Shed.  She has walked those corridors for years, unfiltered and unassuming.  Her most private thoughts are public knowledge, and miraculously, she remains.  There is something achingly pure about that.

I think God has shown her to me for a reason.  I can be a bit stubborn about MY thoughts being MY thoughts!  Most of the time I like their bawdy, silly, insulting, observations.  They amuse me.  The Angel is a reminder to me that perhaps my thoughts aren’t as private as I like to believe.  For all I know they could be broadcast in some horrible dimension of Hell where tormented souls are shielding their ears screaming, “what a bitch!”

Last night, I read Thomas Kelly for probably the trillionth time.  The context is the complexity and over-crowdedness of our lives –

“We’re weary and breathless.  And we know and regret that our life is slipping away, with our having tasted so little of the peace and joy and serenity we are persuaded it should yield to a soul of wide caliber.  The times for the deep silences of the heart seem so few.  And in guilty regret we must postpone till next week the deeper life of unshaken composure in the holy Presence, where we sincerely know our true home is, for this week is much too full.”

Bam!  Need I say more?  I have heard the Angel of the Tool-Shed and I have heard the elegant Thomas Kelly.  They both seem to be saying the same thing.  MY thoughts are not necessarily MY thoughts, and MY life is tied intimately to MY thoughts.  Even if they aren’t broadcast in Hell, they are shared with God.  I don’t want God to shield his ears and say, “what a bitch!”  As Kelly says (on the front end of the book), “Eternity is at our hearts, pressing upon our time-torn lives, warming us with intimations of an astounding destiny, calling us home unto Itself.”  I have no idea what the Angel is saying right now, but I know one thing … it’s absolutely from her head/heart and it wouldn’t hurt a fly.  I don’t want to hurt a fly either.  I want to open my life up to the astounding power of Eternity.  I want to bathe daily in the light, love and laughter of my Father.  To pull Eternity into Now and let it reside.  If you wish, please join me in prayer.


6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Barney on August 28, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Slowgrin : > )
    What a joy to have you back online! I know how very busy you are, so I greatly appreciate your efforts to share your thoughts. Though it is understandable why you need a hiatus from time to time, I must selfishly share with you what a vacuum I sense in your absence.
    I found this piece very interesting — amusing at first, but thought-provoking by the end. You have uncovered the mundane to reveal an ethereal hemisphere some would not contemplate. You are more spirit than flesh, as we all should be! I am reminded of “There is an angel watching over you!” I like your added dimension of a sort of spiritual check and balance playing out in your life. I wonder: are our thoughts more indicative of our character than our deeds? Are we alone responsible for our thoughts, or is there an external force that shapes them? If so, let’s hope it is a benevolent one. To that end, I accept your invitation to join you in prayer.
    Thoughts lying dormant are like ashes needing stirring. Thanks for tending the fire! ____ Barney


  2. You have a way of making me sound much deeper than I am. For that I am most grateful 🙂 You asked some weighty questions, and I’ll respond with my gut.

    I wonder: are our thoughts more indicative of our character than our deeds? I think so, just because our thoughts are private (except for the Angel) and our deeds are public. May a good deed is done for the wrong reason, and carried out with wide grin and toxic thought (can you tell I live near DC?). Thoughts, on the other hand really show our character – the trick is no one really gets to read them …. except what we are willing to share. I’ve been trying to clean my thoughts up for God (the Benevolent One) since I wrote this 24 hrs ago, and I confess that some things are just not as fun!

    Are we alone responsible for our thoughts, or is there an external force that shapes them? I vote for countless external forces that shape them. Most of the time I feel a wee bit victimized by all the forces shaping my thoughts. However, I do think that we have an option to NOT be victimized by all the forces. This takes great humility and practice, practice, practice. TK (I love that writer) says, “There is a degree of holy and complete obedience and of joyful self-renunciation and of sensitive listening that is breath-taking.” … he’s listening to “the Shekinah of the soul”. I want to listen to my soul more, write more and think more so the cacophony of voices, the prickly personalities, and the pompous posturing of the Tool Shed don’t over run my thoughts, and my life with toxins. I love my Angel, just because she is SO rumpled, and awkward and after all these years; herself.


  3. Bonnie,
    Just thought to check to see if you’re back, and you are! I’m so happy that you are. I love this post. As usual, you bring meaning to the ordinary, folding in the extraordinary, and coming full circle with your remarkable insight.
    Think about submitting this one somewhere?


    • Anne
      Honored to have your eyes checking in! I never thought of developing this one for publication. I need to learn more about who publishes what. Didn’t know there was a market for something like this. As always, I appreciate your encouragement.


      • You might check out Duotrope. (Small fee now, I think.) Also if you read volumes of creative nonfiction/essays by, say, Brenda Miller, Robert Vivian, Jo Ann Beard, and others who write similarly (that is, meditative and/or thoughtful essays with some depth, like yours), you’ll see the specific literary journals that publish them, i.e, Portland Magazine and others. Takes some research, but Duotrope and those three writers are a good place to start to look for possible publishers for specific pieces. Good for something to do during those long, cold Maine winter nights! Works in Rhode Island!

        Also Robert Vivian has written a few excellent pieces about the meditative essay. Just Google him. If you can’t find his stuff, I can give you the cite or just send the essay to you by email attachment. Your writing reminds me of his writing. His and Brenda Miller’s. Her story “Basha Leah” is online too. It’s awesome stuff. I love it. And her books are wonderful.

        There’s a market for our stuff. I think we just have to dig.

  4. Hi there, just wanted to tell you, I loved this blog
    post. It was funny. Keep on posting!


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