Dark Angel

She stood there ominously. Dark. Cold. Looming in the distance. Irresistible.

“Why do we have to go all the way out there? It’s just a rock!”

The sun was hot, the path dusty, and I had gotten little sleep over the past four days on a camp out with my sons’ scout troop. My feet hurt, my nose was full of dirt, and I knew that it was just a rock, but it meant so much more.

“The Dark Angel wants it’s due” was a phrase I recently read on the SCAD survivor’s site. Nothing rings truer. We survive by a miracle. By the skin of our teeth. Often only to have to fight for survival again. In my case, I know that my arteries are in a state where my brain and heart could stop working at any time. Every day is a gift from God … a victory in a daily battle between life and death with the Dark Angel. I wanted to see and touch this personification. I wanted to look it in the face. Confront it; and if not for the boy scout troop I wanted to cry and scream and cuss and throw rocks at it until my arm fell off. But I was with the troop, so quiet contemplation would have to do.

It was a hard path on tired legs and with a racing heart. My poles kept me steady. Determined to gaze upon its face. The rest of the hiking party was jubilant as we neared the every growing monolith.

I marvelled at how big it was. How beautiful. With imagination you could make out the head, bowed towards the earth, looking over the expanse of the Salt Valley. Wings folded. Standing alone in the desert. Red dirt swirling around its base, stirred by the hot wind.

I allowed my mind to settle into the personification. I walked around the base, touched the hem of the “robe”, looked into the dark slab where I imagined a “face” to be. My heart settled down. Now that I was looking at it, confronting, it, I realized that she was now a part of me. The Dark Angel has been a part of me since my SCAD heart attack. She has been a part of me since the development of disease in the arteries in my heart and brain. She will always be a part of me. It is my choice to fear her or not. It is my choice to let myself accept her as a part of my body, as a part of who I am, or to be afraid of the unknown… the lurking “Dark Angel”. On the long walk back to the car, I through my daily dichotomy of my fear of death and gift of life. Yes, the Dark Angel is a part of me, but the length of my time on this earth is determined by God and my destination is Light.

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