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The Angel Gabriel
My alarm clock rings, waking me from a deep sleep. I usually wake up happy, but today is a Monday, and unless you’re like my crazy friend who believes that everyday is Friday, you hate Monday too.
I get up, get dressed, and go downstairs for a quick breakfast, say good morning to my mom, and then I’m out the door. I step into my old beat up Chevy and back out of the driveway. The drive to school isn’t long and I’m there in no time. While pulling into my usual parking spot, I spot a young boy, around fourteen or so, struggling with his backpack which has exploded on to the ground. I get out of my truck and walk over to him to offer to help him pick his books up and grab a Bible from off of the ground.
“Hey sweetie, I think you dropped this,” I say. (I only call him sweetie because I think he is at least two years younger than me.)
“Oh, yeah I did. Thanks,” he replies in a deeper voice than I would have expected to come from a fourteen year old. But then he stands up and I realize he is a full foot taller than I am and definitely not fourteen. He has shaggy dark brown hair that covers his eyebrows and deep ocean blue eyes and his mouth is slightly curved upward as if he is about to smile. He must be at least seventeen. Now I feel embarrassed for calling him sweetie.
“Yeah, um, you’re welcome,” I stammer, completely red-faced.
“You thought I was younger than I actually am, didn’t you.” It wasn’t a question.
“Um, yeah. I did. Sorry,” I reply.
“It’s okay, Hayley. It happens all the time,” he says with a smile and laughs.
“Yeah, it’s just that when you were bending over, you looked younger than -- Wait, how do you know my name?”
“Oh, um. It’s on your name tag,” he replied sheepishly. From the way he said it, it sounded like he never even looked at my name tag. Somehow he already knows my name, yet I’ve never seen this kid before.
“Oh, right. I forgot about that thing,” I say, staring at him incredulously. “You’re not wearing a name tag,” I point out, “ so now I have to ask; what’s your name?”
“I’m Gabriel. Like the angel,” he states confidently.
“Angel? Are you referring to the bible? Don’t you know that this is a public school? I’m pretty sure that you can’t even have that thing with you.”
“Oh, I never go anywhere without it. In fact, I don’t think anyone should,” he says reaching into his backpack and pulling out a worn leather book. “Here you go, Hayley. I think you should keep this with you. Don’t worry about the teachers, they won’t bother you about it,” he says handing me the book. I stare at it for a second before realizing what he’s handing me.
“It’s a bible. Why are you giving this to me? I don’t even go to church or anything. I won’t ever use it,” I say handing the book back to him noticing how the leather is dyed red and has gold letters on the front. While I’m trying to hand the book back to him, it slips out of my hands and falls to the ground, opening to the front page. There’s an inscription inside the front cover that says, “To Hayley, I will always be watching over you. Gabriel.”
“What is that!? How did -- what are you -- what's going on? Did you plan to meet me here? Is this inscribed to me?" I stammer feeling confusion rise up inside me.
“I was sent here to give this to you, Hayley. He sent me. It is my job to make sure that you find Him.”
“What? Find who? God? Is that what this is about?” I say almost yelling at him. He’s not making any sense.
“He wants you to know that He loves you, Hayley. He knows that you are struggling to keep your family together and He wants to help,” he replied calmly.
“Help? He wants to help? Why couldn’t He have wanted to help when my dad left me and my mom to raise my three little brothers all by ourselves? Why didn’t He want to help when my littlest brother got cancer last year and almost died? I have to work two jobs and go to school and try to hold my family together, and your God is just now deciding that he wants to help? I don’t think so,” I yell and stomp away leaving the Bible laying on the asphalt.
“Hayley, please just listen to his call!” Gabriel shouts after me. I don’t look back; I keep walking to class. I’m sure by now that the first bell has rung and I am late for English, but I’m too mad to care.
I walk in through the back of the class and take a seat next to my friend Taylor.
“You won’t believe what just happened,” I whisper to her while Mr. Nolan’s back is turned to us as he writes on the board.
“What happened? You look frazzled,” she whispers back.
“This kid outside claimed to be some kind of messenger of God and tried to get me to take a Bible from him. He claimed that God wants to help me. Why now? He’s never helped me before.”
“That sounds kinda sketchy. Did you take it?”
“Of course not,” I say getting out my books for class. As I reach into my backpack, I feel something soft and worn and pull it out. It’s the Bible. I could’ve sworn that I left it laying outside by that crazy Gabriel kid. How did it get in my backpack? I didn’t even take my backpack off; much less unzip it and put the book in.
“If you didn’t take it, then what’s that?” Taylor asks looking at me funny.
“I have no clue how it got in there. I swear I left it outside on the ground. I didn’t take it.” Just as I finish saying this, I see Gabriel walk into the classroom with a slip of yellow paper. Mr. Nolan points to the back of the room where I am sitting and Gabriel heads over my way.
“Oh, who’s that? He’s cute!” Taylor squeals.
“Taylor, that’s him! That’s the crazy Bible kid! What should I do?” I whisper frantically.
“Oh my gosh! I don’t know! Just let him give you the note, I guess. He is way to cute to refuse.” Taylor is so not helpful.
“Here you go, Hayley. I put the Bible back in your bag for you. I think you should read this verse,” he says handing me the slip of paper with a smile.
“What? How did you get into my backpack? Why do you insist on making me read this stupid thing?”
“I just want to help,” he replies and with that, he walks out of the room.
“I think you should look at it. It may actually help you somehow,” Taylor says looking at the verse written on the paper.
“What? Are you kidding me? You don’t even believe in the Catholic faith. Wasn’t it you who said it was ‘too restrictive’?” I say not wanting to take advice from someone who doesn’t even believe in the Bible. I shove the paper into my pocket and turn to face the front of the class.
When I get home, the Bible is on top of my books. No matter what I did, all day the Bible just kept getting into my backpack and it was starting to annoy me. I finally decide to read the verse that Gabriel was so intent on me seeing. It was Luke 1:30-35. I read through the annunciation of the coming of the baby Jesus and wonder why Gabriel wanted me to read this. Am I supposed to be the next Virgin Mary? I’m definitely not qualified for that job. I’ve lied all my life. What does he want me to do with this?
Frustrated, I throw the Bible down on to my floor and kicked it under my bed. I don’t need this craziness. I had enough to deal with.
As I was doing my homework, however; all I could think about was the verse Gabriel made me read. I start thinking what the message he was trying to send me could be. Does he really want me to believe that I was going to be the next mother of Jesus? Definitely not possible. Maybe he was calling me trust in God a little more.
As I thought about this, the phone rang. I answered, “Hello?”
“Hi, Hayley. This is Father William from St. Mark’s church down the street. I know you don’t know me, but a little boy, Gabriel I think it was, came to me today saying that you needed my help. He gave me your phone number and told me to call you right away.”
“Gabriel came to see you? Did he say what I needed help with?” I asked feeling more afraid and confused by the second.
“He told me that you’d need help with figuring out a meaning and answering a call. When I asked him what he meant, he just turned and walked away. I’m not quite sure what it is he wants me to do, Hayley, but I am here to help.” Father William replied.
“Um, okay then. Well, Gabriel gave me a Bible today and told me to read Luke 1:30-35. I have no idea why he wanted me to read it. I don’t know what to do with it. I’m thinking that maybe he wants me to consider a religious life, but I don’t know.” It felt weird to tell this stranger what had happened today, but I also felt relieved.
“Well, Hayley, why don’t you come by the church this afternoon and I’ll meet with you?”
“Okay,” I said and hung up.
I walked to the church and found Father William and sat down in one of the pews to talk to him. We talked for three hours about my faith and Gabriel and how the verse can be seen as God trying to send me a message. We talked about all the troubles I’ve been having since my father left and he told me that I should come to church this coming Sunday. I did as he said and brought my family. I slowly became closer to God and developed a greater love for Him. I decided to join a convent at eighteen years old and I have been here living the word of God ever since. My entire life has been changed due to the little angel named Gabriel.