So Far Gone

May 17, 2010
Contrary to popular belief, it’s really hard being an angel. You’re held accountable for everything humans do, and I must have done a really bad job, because now I’m being punished. I am becoming human. People think that being divinely appointed equals eternal happiness. Being an angel means having to deal with irrational and corrupt human beings who are a pain in the ascension. And it’s a thankless job. We never get credit, partly because we are invisible and partly because almost all of the world’s prayers are directed towards Him and not to his minions.

For humans, heaven is unreal. The glowing orb that humans call “the sun” never disappears behind the curtain of night; instead of the sky turning black, it radiates a lavender hue with unidentifiable lights twinkling far in the distance. I used to think the lights were stars or planes, but those are human objects; everything in heaven is inhuman. Plain water tastes like fruit and the fruit tastes like the world’s finest cakes. The outdoor markets are lush with sweet coconuts, mangoes, star fruits, and kiwis. Here, your muscles harden and your skin tans and everyone looks so exotic, like we are from another planet; and I suppose in a way, we are.

The beach stretches for miles and the light blue water is as clear and shimmering as glass. Lying in the sand, it swallows you whole and envelops your body into a powdery glove of warmth. Skyscrapers edged in gold graze the clouds and continue up higher than the eye can fathom. They sit and guard the pink and orange horizon like Roman sentries, statuesque and silent, waiting for all eternity.
Elephants roam the streets bathed in cream velvet and diamonds, with ivory tusks as long and as curving as tree branches. Purple, green, and red snakes skim the sand and curl around your ankles for affection. And why shouldn’t they? Even though earthbound snakes are considered hideous, slimy, and devilish, every living creature yearns to be loved.

Of course, all of what I have just described is only what I have observed. I don’t get out much, because I am an employee of this place. And to be frank, I am bored. Sitting in my office on the right hand of the father all day, I gaze out of my window, longing to be one of the happy people parasailing, floating, or lying in the sand under the shade. The colorful sailboats that bob against the horizon from morning until night call to me. I long to be a passenger.

I think it’s been clear for a long time that God is unhappy with me. He doesn’t understand why I want to be like all the others; dead and in heaven, when I am an angel—divinely conceived of His own likeness. While humans suffered on earth, I watched from above, diligently doing His deeds. You must understand—angels are supposed to be numb; have no emotions, no physical senses…just BE. We are light, air, water, and fire—all the intangible materials of the earth, we are. Why can’t I be unfeeling and pure?

Is it wrong to wish that I could feel pain? Just a taste? All the humans that have died and come to heaven are not just happy because heaven is beautiful—they are happy because they have earned it. After the pain of life, heaven is an unexpected relief. I’ve been told all my life how lucky I am, but I don’t feel lucky. I’ve never known anything worse. I long to feel the suffering so that I can feel the joy.

Now that God is condemning me by making me a human, I guess I’m finally getting what I wanted, but I didn’t want it this way. It is one thing to be born a human, but it is quite another thing to be condemned. I am becoming human because I have displeased God so much that he must banish me from his kingdom. He won’t even look at me, and his light has not shined on my face in weeks; an angel without God’s light is like a fish without water. I feel starved for His warmth. Am I really so far gone?

The first to go was my name. To humans, angels’ names are unpronounceable. Now when I say my name, it sounds something like “Adam.” I can also feel now. Yesterday I had to escort some teens from the wreckage of a grisly car accident, and by “escort” I mean carry them from life to sudden death. I felt a tingling at the corner of my eyes when I saw the bloody, mangled bodies. I have emotions now. As a full angel, I never would have cried. Angels don’t get sad, because they know that in the end, everything will be okay. One of the girls that lived talked to me before the ambulance drove her away. Humans can see me now. It’s like I am already one of them. I even saw myself in the cracked rearview mirror of the totaled car, and I don’t look anything like I imagined myself to be. I’m really pale and I have long brown hair that weighs heavily on my head and scratches my face. My God. I have a face.

I haven’t much time left. The lady just called A29. I’m A33. I’m writing this on a scrap of paper I found on the floor of the terminal. Perhaps someone will read it one day and understand my painful transition and take pity on me for displeasing God so very much. There is a wetness in my mouth and my stomach is knotted. I am hungry. I’ve never been hungry before, and I don’t know what to do about it.

Adam tucked the paper into a crack in the floor and stood at the gate of the terminal, waiting for the last of his changes to take form. He closed his eyes and waited to be born.

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