When I finished mulching the one section of my garden on Sunday, I put Millie’s Angel back in her place and thought about the role Millie played in my life.
You see, Millie’s Angel is a lawn ornament. She is a little concrete cherubim that was originally left in the flower garden of a home Brian and I bought in Ohio. The lawn ornament belonged to Millie and when she and Ted moved out of the house, she left the angel in the garden for us.
Ted and Millie were downsizing and purchased a smaller home in the same subdivision, so we saw them from time to time and became pretty good acquaintances. When we put our house on the market a few years later to move back to the south, we listed the house with Ted.
We wouldn’t know the role Millie would play in our lives until about this time.
Our 26 year marriage, for a ton of wrong reasons, was about to fall apart and the unlikeliest of angels came and rescued us. Job issues, family issues, marriage issues had finally taken their toll and we were going to sever a lifetime of being a couple and go our separate ways.
It was Millie that came to our rescue. She was the first guardian angel we had in our lives that we recognized as being such. And her actions actually caused a series of events to occur that brought us back together and made us remember what was most important to us – each other.
Millie came to our house on the morning I was to leave. I had the car loaded with my personal possessions and was ready to go. Millie would keep an eye on the house, water the plants and make sure everything looked fresh for potential buyers since Brian and I would separately be staying miles away.
Millie tried to talk me out of leaving. She tried to feed me some breakfast. She told me to get a few more hours sleep. She made us tea. I must have looked a wreck! She asked me to come and stay with her and Ted for a little while. She told me she would travel with me and fly home so I would not be driving by myself. She offered everything of herself that she could to ease my physical burden. She even gave me some money to make sure I would have enough for my trip and getting settled.
I was determined to go. I had no reason, no family and no desire to stay where I was any longer. So, Millie dawdled while receiving instructions on the house plants and the other house issues as I was getting more anxious to get some distance behind me.
But, had Millie not slowed my departure I would have been on the road much earlier and would not have received the call that changed everything for Brian and I. I smile about it even now, because I know her actions were intentional.
Millie also knew that our road back together would not be easy, so she gave us books to read to help us with our healing. She talked to us, individually and together in her quiet soft spoken way and helped us to soften our hearts towards each other. We learned that it is more important to be kind than to be right.
For all of you that remember the classic 1946 movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Clarence helps George find his way back to his family. This was just like that. Millie helped us in the same ways that Clarence helped George. The only difference between this movie and our lives is that Clarence was an angel that was not of this world and our friend, Millie, is as human as you and I.
Yet, Millie is an angel, just like Clarence. She came into our lives when we needed her and then she was gone. She has helped others before us and helps people after us. It is just her nature.
Of course, when Brian and I left Ohio, together, as it should be, we took our lawn angel with us. We left some of our other possessions behind, but made room for her to come with us. She sat on our porch in Savannah, sat on our porch at Folly Beach and currently sits in my kitchen garden (protected from rain by the awning above).
We call this statue “Millie’s Angel.” She is our reminder of the greatest gift we ever received from another human being.
In “It’s a Wonderful Life,” every time you hear a bell, an angel gets it wings. In real life, my life, every time, I look at Millie’s Angel, I am reminded that certain earthly angels have earned their wings.