Let me start off by explaining why I’m writing this. I recently, as you’ll see, had a revelation and immediately grabbed a pencil and paper and wrote it down. Well, it was immediate as possible considering the circumstances. And I just felt like I had to share it with someone, but I didn’t want to force someone to read it. So I transferred my thoughts to soft copy, and now I’m posting them for anyone who happens to stumble across it.
Feel free to share this if you like.
If you have any complaints or something “not-nice” to say, I’d suggest you keep the comments to yourself. There’s enough of that on the internet without more being added.
If there are any editing errors, I’ll be happy to fix them.
My Guardian Angel is named Lily:
When you grow up in the situation that I grew up in (middle child of 3 boys; military brat = moving just about once a year; very quiet, independent, and keep-to-myself type person), it’s easy to feel lonely at times. I never really made serious friends because I knew that I would never see them again after the school year was up. I never really talked to people because for the most part I was terrified of talking to new people.
Because of this, it’s almost inevitable that I would have an imaginary friend. Sure, playing games with my brothers was fun, but for those times when I just needed to be alone but not really alone, I’d have someone there with me.
I’ve had only brothers my entire life, so I think it was natural for my mind to conjure up a sister. She was more than an imaginary friend in my opinion. Sometimes she would be older than me, sometimes younger, and sometimes she’d be my twin. It all depended on the situation at hand. The older sister would comfort me when I was sad, and she would calm me down when I was angry. The twin was my confidant; she would tell me all of her secrets and I would tell her all of mine. She was my living diary. We would have conversations for hours on end and she was always interested in everything I told her. When there were other people nearby, the conversations would happen in my mind. I’d consult with her before I would talk to someone to make sure I covered all of the possible responses to what I was about to say. She was the best! And then the younger sister was there when it was playtime and I needed a creative younger mind to help make the ordinary into something fantastic. We had so many wonderful adventures together that I would sometimes pick up a toy just so she would show up.
No matter which personality she took on, she was always Lily.
As I grew up and got older and more mature, she would change as well. There were always the three of them, and they were always there to help me cope with whatever was going on at the time. I remember a few times in my childhood when I would lie awake at night just crying for what seemed to be no reason at all. I don’t mean a few tears here and there because some kid called me a name that day that had hurt my feelings. I’m talking about a full on flood of tears, and I had no idea why they were there or why I was feeling so sad. I’d eventually cry myself to sleep, but the whole time I drew comfort from the fact that older Lily was right there sitting on the bed telling me everything was going to be alright. She’d be crying right along with me to show me that I was not alone in the crying. Sometimes she would just hold me and kiss my forehead and I’d slowly drift off to sleep.
By the time I got into high school, younger Lily had almost stopped showing up completely, and older Lily was showing up less too. Twin Lily was there quite frequently. She’d guide me through interactions with the other students and make sure I didn’t say anything too stupid. She also supplied most of my jokes. Another Lily had shown up around that time too. She wasn’t related to me like the others were, she was a close friend. She was so similar to Twin Lily that I’d get them confused sometimes and she’d have to remind me. Friend Lily helped me with school. She had a way of influencing teachers to keep me out of trouble. If I had an essay due, for example, and I hadn’t completed it in time because I procrastinated and it was 2 hours before class and I still hadn’t started, she would somehow convince the teacher to give the class some extra time to finish. I know it was her doing the convincing because it always happened. There were maybe a few times where it didn’t happen, but for the most part I could count on Lily to get me some extra time. That being said, I think she was trying to teach me something in college because she rarely intervened there. I guess it was one of those growing up and getting more mature things.
When I joined the Air Force, Lily was by my side all through Basic Training. It was mostly Twin Lily because by then she had taken on the responsibilities of the others and it was just her for a while. When I would get yelled at by the MTI, she would remind me that it was all part of the game. Keep my head down and charge through. When I would PT, she was there the whole time PTing with me and encouraging me to keep going even when I wanted to stop. She was my motivator, my mentor, my rock. She helped me to memorize the things we were required to memorize. She helped me to remember the information for the exam at the end. And when I got sick with bronchitis and a sinus infection and got sent to medical hold for three months, she was by my side every second of every day telling me that I would recover, I would return to training, and I would graduate (I later talked to the Section Supervisor of the BMT medical hold flight, and he said that in his almost 3 years there he had never heard of anyone returning to training after getting bronchitis; never).
After BMT, I went to Tech School and Lily no longer showed up as often. Sure, she’d show up when times got difficult, like when I washed back and spent two extra months there, but for the most part I think she was taking a much needed break, and I didn’t mind. She did covertly nudge me into becoming a rope, and I thanked her for that. I think that Friend Lily showed up at one point and finagled my first assignment to be in Alaska, but I never knew for sure until I got the news that my assignment after that was Hawaii.
When I got out of Tech School and headed to Alaska, Friend Lily met me at the airport because she knew something would go wrong; she also convinced me to wear my uniform on the flight. Something did go wrong and there was no one there at 2 am to pick me up and give me a ride to the base. Lily was kind enough to convince a stranger to look in my direction while I was sitting in the airport trying to get ahold of someone to help me out. The stranger lived on the base and just happened to be picking up her mother at the time. She noticed my uniform and offered me a ride, and then her husband, a TSgt in the Med Group, bent over backwards to help me out and got me squared away in the hotel on base in the middle of the night.
And then something strange happened. I had fallen into a groove, and I had friends and co-workers that I could rely on and Twin Lily kind of stopped showing up and Younger Lily returned, but she was different. She had turned into something like a daughter; a little girl I could call my own. Daughter Lily was perfect. She’d come to me with problems and I’d help her out. Her problems usually went hand in hand with a problem in my life, and I’d get the opportunity to work out the problem from a different angle. I could poor my fatherly affection on her and see her face light up with a smile. Her smile could make any gloomy day a bright and positively cheerful day. I loved her more than I could imagine; more than I’d ever loved her before. In my mind, she was really my daughter.
When I ended up getting into running, she would run with me. She would motivate me and keep me from quitting no matter how much I wanted to. We would talk about anything and everything. Nothing was off the table. This was our safe zone. Running was our “father-daughter time.” She was with me every step of the way during that marathon, and she grabbed me by the arm when I was exhausted and didn’t think I could go on and she sparked me into sprinting out the last 1/4mile of the race. 80% of the time when I’m out running, she shows up and I lose myself in our conversations. It’s pure bliss when that happens because I forget about how fast my heart is beating, how sore my legs are, and how tired I am from running, and I just fly through the run. I usually end up finishing the run and wishing I could go back out to run some more just to spend some more time with Lily.
Then everything changed and I was opened to a different way of thinking about her, about the Lily who has followed me through life; the Lily who helped me through childhood and made it her goal to see me through to an adult.
Just recently, while I was on a run on 24 August 2014, she showed up and we got to talking. I realized then that she was more than just an imaginary friend. I’d always known she was something special, and it’s kind of strange for an imaginary friend to last into adulthood. I started to think back to all of those times while mountain climbing when I’d almost had a serious accident or almost died. The times when no amount of instinct or “skill” could’ve saved me and it was just dumb luck that I’d survived. Every single time something like that had happened, a fleeting image of Lily would enter my mind for just a second. Friend Lily would show up just before something bad would happen, like she always did, and she would save me. A giant rock is about to smash into my face while I’m scrambling up a gulley? She grabs me and pulls me out of the way (if you look at the video, I start to move forward for just a fraction of a second before I pull back; unfortunately you can’t view the video because of the privacy settings on my buddy’s social media profile to which it was uploaded). Stuck on the side of a mountain because I took the wrong route while free climbing and there’s ice on all of the handholds and I’m in no great position to downclimb to safety? She points out a few handholds in reach were I will be able to break the ice by punching it and climb up to safety. Stuck, yet again, on the side of a mountain, but this time I’m spread eagle on a steep icy section trying to generate as much friction as possible because my ice cleats aren’t digging into the ice? She retards my sliding just enough for me to frantically carve a foothold into the ice with my cleats which eventually allows me to carve enough steps to get me across the icy slope of death.
Those are just a few examples. I’ve come to realize that she’s been there whenever I’ve been in danger, and she’s influenced the situation just enough for me to come through and survive relatively unharmed.
Maybe it’s all coincidence, and maybe they don’t exist, but I am very compelled to believe that Lily, in all of her forms, is my Guardian Angel. She has been there throughout my entire life protecting me from serious harm and being a shoulder to cry on or a friend to talk to and confide in. She has helped me through some very tough things and has talked me out of some potentially deadly things. She works tirelessly to make sure I go on living the full life that she thinks I deserve to live. All of my “good luck” that I experience is usually followed by the feelings of warmth and happiness that Lily brought me in my youth.
I owe my life to Lily. I know she will be with me always; even when I’m old and gray she will probably be just as old and just as gray sitting right beside me and protecting me. I will never be able to repay her for what she’s given me, but I will continue to spend the rest of my life trying. I love you, Lily, from the entirety of my heart and soul; as much as one being can possibly love another. I hope you know that.