Sarah was so depressed that she burst into tears and went upstairs, determined to hang herself[…]“I won’t kill myself; I’ll just beg the LORD to let me die.” Tobit 3:10
I’ve had a bookmark in Tobit for a while, and God sent me a reminder of that passage tonight. It would be four or five years until I learnt of the Catholic belief that suicide is against God’s will, but that year He heard my unsaid cry, and sent a collection of angels to my side. One to guard me and one to guide me, Himself to protect my soul – and a physical angel to teach me His Way, to summon and bear me over the murky waters of my life.
As Tobit and Sarah were praying, God in Heaven heard their prayers, and sent His angel Raphael to help them. Tobit 3:16-17
When I was eleven, I chose to go to a Catholic Convent Secondary School because of its swimming pool. I loved swimming with an unjust passion back then. Ironically, I came to hate that swimming pool because of the jealousy it elicited in me. On my first week, my angel approached me.
God revealed Himself through someone else’s kindness, and I never forgot it. I owe them both.
As I grew, I started learning the way of these people. I had stepped in blind, but my eyes were being opened by kindness, love and sensibility. The more I saw how twisted the world had become, the more I wished for another body of mine, to be something more than myself, someone who could at least try and save the world from its own destruction.
And from the destructive explosion I had once been, fraught without forgiveness and determined for an end to everybody who spited me.
I hated what I was seeing, so I turned my eyes to the softer parts, the ones waiting for mine.
The morality was the first gleam in my eye – like any child, I had fantasised about passionate fornication and illegitimate, loved children of my own, but, suddenly, I saw where my virtual was meant to lie: in chastity, the right ordering of one’s sexual desires.
Of course, that didn’t mean I turned off hurting myself instantly. I began to know that I was being too savage, but my change came slowly.
At the end of 2009, I changed my name to Angel, but I was not allowed to legally alter it. It was in honour of those guardians who helped me to change into a better person. After that, I started to belief what I was learning – being a Christian isn’t just about having a faith, it’s about living through one’s faith, and existing not to the call of material perfect but the vocational call to give what one can to the God who protects and nourishes us. Was I being fickle? I do not know. What I do know is that it changed me, and I began to love myself where others hated, despised and taunted me.
Besides, when the bell trilled, I was seeing transubstantiation with my very eyes. The Lord was on their tongues, and I wanted to taste His spirit in my literal and metaphysical belly.