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Around The Sun: Meeting A Real Angel

Steve Harrison meets an angel - then encounters an insoluble and life-changing dilema.

If I could reach up and collect a star for every time you have made me smile, an entire evening sky would be in the palm of my hand.

I got back to America with new tastes, smells and sensations coursing through my veins. India had invigorated me. I had new energy with which to tackle my second year at preaching school. I had new stories to tell.

David and Dorothy had missed me. Soon I was back in the routine. Studying during the day. Helping David with his house building in the early mornings and late evenings.

I felt like I was on the homeward stretch. But where exactly was home?

**

I was always a bit of a loner, I had a busy social life but I spent as much time as I could alone. I enjoyed my own company. My thoughts and prayers circulated freely when I was in my own space.

I spent hours walking through the park and the local ravines. One day I was leaving the park when I discovered I was being followed. A handsome Border Collie was behind me. It followed me home. I went inside, closing the door. When I checked 20 minutes later the collie had settled down on the front porch and was watching the traffic go by.

I went out to the store to buy some dog food. The collie came with me. He had definitely adopted me. David and Dorothy were really pleased to see him. We fed him and he settled right in. We all agreed he could stay as long as he had a mind to, but because he was such a lovely dog we were certain his owner would be frantically searching for him. So we ran an advert in the local paper.

Three days later I got a telephone call. Texan women always sound so charming on the phone. She described my new shadow perfectly, I told her our address. She lived 10 blocks away. She said she would walk over and be with us in 10 minutes.

In 10 minutes the door bell rang. When I opened the door I was struck dumb. Standing there was the most beautiful woman I had seen. She was gorgeous. A tall, leggy blond with clear blue eyes.

Hi,'' she said. "I'm Marsha.''

She held out a Polaroid photo of herself and the collie.

"Yep thats him,'' I stammered, my ability to communicate suddenly vanishing. "Hmm, errrr, come through to the back yard. He's sunning himself.''

I pointed to the rear of the house. She went ahead of me. She was tall and graceful.

When the back door was opened the collie bounded into her arms. Hi, Charlie,'' she said. "So this is where you have been hiding.''

David and Dorothy came over to introduce themselves, and then me. I had forgotten my manners.

Marsha thanked us for looking after her dog, taking out a purse and offering money. We politely refused. She chatted to David and Dorothy for awhile. I was tongue-tied. She was about to leave when David whispered in my ear "Ask her for a date. She's too good to be allowed to get away. And she's single.''

We went outside with her. David again quietly prompted me. It was now or never.

I did a little skip to catch up with her as she walked away. "Er...how about we go out for a coffee sometime? Or take Charlie for a walk in the park?''

There, Id done it.''

She giggled. Id love to. How about now? I thought you were never going to ask.''

From that moment on we became inseparable. She was pure sugar. Not only was she stunningly attractive, she was caring and had a kind heart. She had married and divorced while still in her teens. Since then she had lived alone.

Shed developed Hodgkins disease, lymphatic cancer. She had twice been given the last rights, but now it was in complete remission.

Marsha was so full of life she glowed. She was in love with anything and everything. Nothing seemed to dampen her effervescent spirit. She loved to dance, taking advantage of every opportunity to do so. Come rain hail or shine nothing could slowher down. Because of her battle with a terrible illness she was now determined to enjoyevery second.

Boy she turned me on!

I was in my last six months at the preaching school. I was physically and emotionally burned out through too much hard work. Now I had a major energy transplant. Marsha infected me with her zest for life.

We were madly in love. Anything and everything was possible.

We studied the Bible together. Four weeks after our first meeting I asked her to marry me. I had been cautious about getting into a long-term relationship. I was very serious about my study and church work, so I had pretty much avoided girls.

However there was a major problem. A problem summed up by the word divorce. If I was to be a preacher I could not marry a divorced woman, even if the divorce had been granted a long time ago.

I debated with myself. I was in turmoil. She loved me and I loved her. Was that not enough?

But as I wrestled with my conscience Marsha slowly drew away from me. She could see my distress but was unable to resolve my conflict. She thought the solution was simple. Straightforward. We should get married.

Eventually my angelic being left me. I was plunged into an internal theological conflict which came close to destroying me. You could have drive a double-deck bus through the hole in my heart. I was cold, miserable, empty.

I forced myself through my final two weeks of study. I graduated with honours. I was awarded a prize.

But I had lost my heart's love.

Much later I heard that Marhsa's disease had caught up with her and taken her to her permanent angelic home.

Even now I can bask in the warmth which she brought to my life.

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