As soon as Eilish stepped further to inquire the little blue flowers in the strange otherworldly forest, Samuel slipped in through the portal just behind her. But Eilish was unaware of him – she could neither hear nor see him and didn’t even know he existed. This had been God’s wish – Samuel shouldn’t let himself be known to her before the proper time. And the time hadn’t come yet. He was just supposed to keep an eye on her and if allowed, intervene. His task had been keeping Eilish safe from dangers and evil and this is exactly why a guardian was needed.
Samuel was a guardian angel. He had been a guardian from the beginning of mankind, even though he had done some occasional “search and rescue” in between. Before that he had mostly been in the choir. He was in fact about the same age as Andrew, maybe even slightly older. God had chosen him to be a guardian for some very special reasons. First of all Samuel was taller than most angels – with his 6 feet 2 inches he seemed almost like a giant for most of the early nations, he was tall even for the present-day standards. His broad shoulders left no question about his strength. His friends sometimes jokingly called him “God’s security guard”. God had chosen him to do the work that needed lots of physical strength. Besides protecting an assignment from various physical dangers being a guardian often meant that he had to confront all kinds of demons sent by the Devil to compromise the mind of his assignments. But here physical strength is often not enough, because demons are rather cunning creatures. So God had above all chosen Samuel for his wisdom and spiritual strength.
Samuel knew a lot and was quick-witted, but he was not a very wordy angel. He chose his words well and seldom spoke, but in no way he was unsocial. He enjoyed good company, but he liked to listen more than he liked to speak. Arguing, persuading, talking people into something, chatting, making long conversations etc. was just not his cup of tea. But he was never at loss of words either – when necessary, he could certainly find the exact words needed. Samuel was just a silent type of angel. Therefore he was not exactly a caseworker material, like Monica, Tess or Andrew, but he was required exactly as he was – strong, wise, silent, humble, and at the same time warm-hearted and gentle.
Even though he was not an angel of many words, he could say more with his eyes and smile than many could with words. He had such intense eyes that it was not possible to look into his eyes and be untruthful. He seemed to look right into the depths of a person’s soul. For the kind souls his glance was gentle and calming, but it really scared everyone who had wicked intentions. Though his blue eyes might have been somewhat intimidating for the shy kind of people, which was Eilish’s case of course. But at the same time she desperately needed someone to take a warm and gentle, yet firm look through all the walls she had built in years.
God knew it would take a patient and kind angel to take care of Eilish, who was struggling with quite many personal issues. She had come to the Earth from Asteriana as a small child and soon proved to be an open and joyful girl, who fearlessly communicated with everything and everyone. But in years she met people who greatly misunderstood her and thus pushed her away. She was often taunted, teased and bullied for being different, so she gradually became closed and shy. Her self-confidence suffered a great deal and due to some horrid events she eventually became fragile and scared of all people. Yet somewhere behind all those walls she had built to protect herself there was a sweet and bright girl whose soul yearned for someone to encourage and caress her.
Samuel had witnessed many of Eilish’s joys and sorrows and had grown deeply fond of the delicate girl. For so many times he had wished he could encourage her or just be there for her as a friend. But he knew she had to make her decisions alone, he couldn’t interfere with these. He was allowed to step in only in case of immediate threat to her life. Still, from time to time it was all so hard to bear. There were many times Samuel had felt so helpless, so lost, so much in pain – he wished with all his heart to once hold the battered girl tightly in his arms and just tell her that she is safe now. To tell her that all these years she was looked after and was not really alone. So it was such a joy and relief for Samuel when Eilish found the portal and entered her homeland once again.
When Eilish went to discover the cottage on Tír na nÓg, Samuel went to the beach, put his knees down on the white sand, looked up in the sky and gave thanks to the Lord. He really needed to talk to God and despite his reservation with words he felt it was going to be somewhat longer conversation than he usually had.
“My Lord,” he said happily. “Thank you for bringing her back home. Thank you!” He stopped to lift his eyes and give a broad smile towards the sun. Rarely had anyone but God seen him cry neither for sadness nor joy, but sometimes he would just fall silent and lift his misty eyes up. This is what he did now. He was really happy and thankful. He felt God smiling back at him.
“Samuel, my dear friend and servant, you have done well. Thank you for taking care of her!” God said softly.
Samuel modestly lowered his head. “It has been a very special assignment.” There was a note of sadness in his voice. “I am really sorry if I failed her in any way, Lord!”
“ You didn’t, Samuel! Your presence, your guard was utterly important, but you know we couldn’t interfere with her or anyone else’s decisions. You really did everything you could and were meant to and often even more. And you did it well.”
“I wish I could have done more,” Samuel said silently, almost whispering.
He recalled the dreadful prom evening and then remembered a gloomy autumn evening a couple of years after Eilish’s graduation. Eilish had been on her way home and had decided to go through the park. She realized too late that a bunch of drunken men were following her. Before she knew it they had caught up on her and there was no question about their intentions. They grabbed her and tore her clothes. She fought as hard as she could, but it was all in vain. Luckily for her she passed out before they could carry out their appalling plan.
Samuel had arrived just in time to see her fall onto the ground and he glimpsed Andrew standing only a few yards from her, looking devastated. Samuel felt so angry he gathered all his strength and gave these ill-natured men the scare of their lifetime. He appeared before them in his most terrifying form. And they had fled in total shock. But they had left the poor girl lying on the ground, unconscious. Samuel looked at Andrew and saw to his delight that there was a sign of relief in his face. Andrew nodded slightly and left.
Samuel knelt down to Eilish and stroked her hair. When she woke up, she just sat there in the autumn leaves for several minutes, shivering, tears running from her eyes. Even though these men hadn’t achieved what they came for, she was in so much shock that she couldn’t even move. This is when Samuel really broke. He just put his arms around Eilish, and holding her tight, he wept. He almost never cried, but this time it was all too much to bear. The girl probably couldn’t feel his presence, but Samuel just had to do something.
Eilish never told about this incident to anyone, even Maria, even though her stepmother had had some suspicions. That evening she had just sat there in the park until she calmed down. Then she went home, telling she had had a bad fall. She felt so bad for lying, but she just couldn’t alarm Maria. But from this time on she couldn’t let anyone really touch her – for the first weeks she had flinched every time someone put her hand on her shoulder, not to mention anyone trying to hug her. This slowly faded, but even though deep inside she yearned for human touch, she was terrified of it at the same time.
“That night, in the park... They were going to...”
“Yes, Samuel, they were,” God said grimly. “And they would have killed her. But you were there, remember. You protected her from the worst.”
“I was so angry I just blazed my fury upon those men.... I’m so glad I could scare them away before they... “Just the thought of it made his heart pound faster and his eyes became a few shades darker. He took a deep breath to calm down. “But... even though physically she had escaped with just a few scratches and bruises, her soul was broken yet again. I just wish I could have stopped it all from happening. All the bad things... Keep her safe... at home, at school, the prom... everywhere. She is so dear to me...” It was painful for Samuel to talk. All kinds of injustice just made him furious and he passionately felt the need to protect the ones being attacked or accused unjustly. Yet he knew how to keep perfect balance - he never went to extremes or intervened unless allowed. This was in fact a quality that made him an excellent guardian.
“I know your anguish and share it with you. I love Eilish dearly. And I know you have grown very fond of her,” God told tenderly.
“More than I ever thought I would... She has become very close to my heart, God. Can I...” Samuel hesitated. “Now that she is back... and safe here... can I finally meet her face to face and tell her that she was fought for, that she was kept safe from the worst. Hold her... Take care of her...” He paused, pondering on whether he had said too much, been too eager.
But God just smiled again.
“You have a big heart, Samuel.”
Samuel humbly looked to the sand.
“There is something I want to tell you, or rather, give. You have been among my guardians for many centuries. And you have done excellent search and rescue work in between. I hereby want to give you some time off, as a gift,” God told with a smile.
Samuel looked up in surprise. “Time off?”
“I want you to stay here. As long as you want. Go and be the friend Eilish... and you... always needed.”
“I... I don’t know what to say,” Samuel answered with total astonishment. “So I can really meet her...” he told more to himself, smiling in disbelief.
“Yes. But for now, just give her some time to settle in. You are, after all, still a stranger for her now. But I know, Samuel, that you have all the love, patience and kindness needed. I trust you.”
These kinds of words were the biggest compliment God could give to anyone. The gift of trust. “Thank you, Lord. From all my heart,” Samuel replied. He hadn’t said much, but the grateful expression on his face told more than the words ever could. He just knelt there, in the sand, looking at the sea, smiling to himself (and to God) and his heart sang with joy.