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One of the most enduring memories I have of my beloved Granny Griffin, other than playing Yahtzee in her kitchen while devouring her heavenly banana pudding, is the collection of religious décor she had scattered throughout her humble 1950s home in Samoset, Florida.    Among other things, Granny had a painting of an elderly woman and man with heads bowed giving thanks for their daily bread , a rendering of Jesus, a plaster sculpture of praying hands, and a large tapestry of DaVinci’s “The Last Supper” covering the wall behind Granny and Papa’s dueling gold recliners.

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My favorite relic of Granny’s, though, was a shiny foil reproduction of Lindberg’s painting “Heilige Schutzengel” (Guardian Angel), which hung in her living room.  Nearly every time I went to Granny’s house to visit, I would study that foil angel and the blurry outline of the two young children crossing a perilous wooden bridge over a tempest sea.  Unfortunately, when I was 14, I lost my dear Granny.  After her death, Papa gave the Guardian Angel picture to my cousin Angie as a keepsake.  As the years went by, I would sometimes see variations of the Guardian Angel in people’s homes and churches and, when I did, my mind always turned to Granny and the devotion she had for God, for me, and for her family.

Granny’s foil reproduction, compliments of Angela Griffin Smith.

 Last year, after a month of dating, Michael invited me and my young daughter over to his home for the first time.  We were still in the discovery phase of our nascent relationship and unsure of what the future would hold, both of us scarred from previous failed relationships and both of us single parents to grade school children.  Michael  took me from room to room to show me his home and pointed out the various renovations he had made.  When we reached the living room, I stopped in my tracks.  There was Granny’s angel, in all her resplendent glory, still guarding over the children and guiding their every step.   “I can’t believe you have that painting, Michael,” I said.   He explained that his mother had given him the Guardian Angel at his son’s christening.

God only knows how many reproductions have been made of the Guardian Angel.  It has been around for decades, and a Google search yields dozens of links where you can read about the painting or purchase your own copy.  The image undoubtedly hangs in thousands of churches, pre-schools, and homes across the U.S. and around the world.  But, to me, the Guardian Angel holds special meaning.  When I saw her hanging there in Michael’s living room, I couldn’t help but consider it a sign from above that Michael was the man I was supposed to marry.  After all, what are angels if not messengers from God, and who was Granny if not an angel?

Now, Michael and I are married, and the Guardian Angel hangs above my daughter’s bed.  Every time I see it, I still think of my wonderful Granny and thank her for the message and for continuing to watch over me.

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