Each night before bed, my wife and I lay with our daughter and say prayers. We run through a litany of people and things that make up the two-year-old’s day: her little brother, her grandparents, her stuffed animal “Ducky” (also known as “Mr. Ducks”), and so on.
After a lifelong friend of mine passed away suddenly at the age of 31, a new prayer entered the rotation: “Prayers for Daddy’s friend Tom.”
A week after the funeral, we find ourselves saying prayers at a vacation house down the shore. Laying in bed, as a nightlight fills the room with shadows, my wife and I begin the prayer:
“Prayers for Pops and Grandmom.”
“Prayers for Grandpop and Grandmom.”
“Prayers for Michael Dude.”
“Prayers for Daddy’s friend Tom.”
“Tom up there,” interupts our daughter, pointing to the ceiling.
My wife and I exchange looks, asking with our eyes if the other had somehow made this allusion to heaven to our daughter since Tom’s passing. Neither of us had. She’s just two, after all, and her idea of God is the baby Jesus in the “car seat” (as she calls the manger) in a children’s prayer book.
“What did you say,” I ask.
“Tom up there,” she repeats, again pointing skyward.
Tears flow, though for the first time not in sadness.
Angels are indeed messengers, even if they are but two-years-old.
Tom had spoken.