Trudy Quinlan Barrett gathered her white robes and ran soundlessly to the edge of Heaven when St. Polly turned her back for a moment to pick up a fallen halo. Trudy knew they’d come looking for her again, but polishing halos was not what she felt like doing at the moment. Looking down she saw Earth’s beautiful blue roundness and her heart longed to be on it again. Then, as she had done many times before, she stepped up to the nearby Heavenly Telescopes and focused. She first narrowed her view to the North American continent, and then focused on the United States, singling out the state of Arizona and zeroing in on Gilbert where she had lived so happily. Finally, she searched even further until she was looking directly into her own earthly family room. There, as she knew it would be, was her little family sitting on the couch watching Sponge Bob without her. They weren’t laughing.
Aaron was Trudy’s handsome and true husband of 32. They had only been married for eight years. Adam was her funny and very smart son who had just turned 7 and Tyler was her baby. He was three now but had only been two when his life of security had been snatched away. They needed her so much. And Trudy needed them. She only had time for one lonely tear when St. Polly came bustling in on Trudy’s sorrow.
“I knew I’d find you here,” St. Polly said with great agitation in her voice. “This is the seventh time you’ve left your post. There is so much to be done. We can’t have angels running off whenever they feel like it. There are rules to be followed.”
Trudy knew that St. Polly had held her tyrannical position for a very, very long time. She must have totally forgotten all about the loveliness of earthly things like hugs and watching Bye- Bye Birdie and planning vacations and going on picnics and laughing at dumb knock-knock jokes. Heaven was not all it was cracked up to be, especially when the ones you loved—more than anyone could ever be loved—couldn’t be with you.
Trudy had arrived in Heaven early; much earlier than she had planned anyway. And she felt like she had left lots of joys and unfinished business behind on that glorious planet Earth.
When she first got to Heaven, many angels gathered around her and tried to make her feel welcome. They let her know how things were run there and instructed her on some of the more important points. For instance, Trudy learned that angels really don’t use their wings or halos except for special occasions like the Christmas Celebration or the Easter Extravaganza. They even invited her to join with them in their activities.
“Now really Trudy,” one Sweet Angel had tried. “You must come with us to the movies. Guess what’s playing now—it’s called Moses Parting the Red Sea! This one doesn’t star Charleton Heston. It stars Moses himself! And actually no one is acting—it’s the real thing. And next week they’re showing the one of Daniel shutting the mouths of the lions. And the movie about Jonah is really awesome; you won’t want to miss that one.”
But the Sweet Angel could tell that Trudy wasn’t interested.
“What is it Trudy?” she asked. “What are you missing so much? Is it your beautiful jewels? Is it the business of life—the running here and there and getting things done? Is it the fabulous “Brownie Obsession” at TGI Friday’s? I really miss that, too!”
“No, no,” said Trudy, trying hard not to roll her eyes in exasperation. “You don’t understand. Come with me and I’ll show you.” The two angels had slipped away before anyone could ask them to brush the wings or hang up the robes. Then Trudy had showed the Sweet Angel her favorite view—the inside of her own home in Gilbert. The one she was looking into right now.
“Sometimes I just miss the laundry,” Trudy had said to the Sweet Angel. “You know, making it smell good and folding it neatly and putting it away. I miss my friends. I loved them so much and they loved me. I miss the everyday things that made life so wonderful. But most of all I miss my boys. I need them. And they definitely need me. Do you see them there? How can I not be with them everyday? I love them much more than any jewels or business or dessert.”
The Sweet Angel had stood by Trudy for a little while trying to feel what Trudy was feeling, but finally she put her arm around Trudy and headed her back to where the other angels were currently making welcome signs.
So now here was St. Polly with her hands on her ample hips waiting again for Trudy to get back to Heaven’s business.
“Wait! Please let me stay a little longer!” Trudy kept looking through the telescope as the scene before her changed. “That’s Marmie there. Here, look!” Trudy stepped down so St. Polly could look through the telescope. St. Polly was anxious to look but had to act extremely disinterested considering her position and all. “Do you see her? Marmie, I mean. She didn’t want to be called Grandma because she thought it made her sound too old. Really, a name isn’t going to help her much. But do you see what she’s going to have Adam wear to school today? It’s picture day—he can’t wear that! Please, let me see what I can do here before I go back to halo polishing.”
St. Polly sighed and put a “why me” look on her face. “Trudy,” she finally said, “You’re needed in Heaven now. You’ve got to let your boys go for awhile.
“But they need me more,” Trudy protested as she reluctantly left the telescope. “And it really wasn’t fair, you know, me coming here so early in my life.”
“Fair?” St. Polly winced at the word. “Fair isn’t something that we talk about up here, young lady. Now we do talk about Justice and we do talk about Mercy, but you can’t find the word “Fair” in Heaven’s Dictionary.”
“St. Polly, please.” Trudy grabbed St. Polly’s hands and looked into her eyes. “Help me out here! How can I be with my boys? How can I help them get through life without me?”
“Hmmm.” St. Polly’s brow furrowed and she thought with great deliberation. Everything she did was done with great deliberation. Finally, shaking her hands free and straightening her hair, she said, “I’ll have to take this up with a higher power.” St. Polly as always would have preferred to solve the problem herself to add to her sense of invincibility, but luckily she knew when she was in over her head.
“St. Peter is awfully busy these days,” St. Polly considered. “Seems like so many are coming here lately—what with all the hurricanes and tsunamis.”
She pulled her white electronic Blackberry out of her large robe pocket and entered a few things in it as she let out yet another sigh.
“I’ll try St. Peter’s office to see if he’s available first. But you might have to settle for an answer from St. Paul.”
“Ahh, they’re quick,” she said turning to Trudy as new writing appeared on the Blackberry screen.
“Let’s see now. The answer is….” St. Polly got very quiet as she read and her eyes got rather large.
“Well?” asked Trudy, “What does it say?”
“It says that you are to have whatever you want!”
“Really?” Trudy was ecstatic. Now this was more like Heaven ought to be.
“This has never happened before,” said a humbled St. Polly, running her weary hand across her unbelieving brow. “Most people have to pick a number and do what ever it says.”
“Is that message from St. Peter?” Trudy asked, surprised that such an important Being would take time to help her specifically when there were so many others needing assistance.
“No,” said St. Polly and her hands raised to the even Higher Heavens and her face shone with wonder. “The message is from God!”
Just then a voice came from that most Heavenly of places, quiet yet piercing. “St. Polly,” the voice said with great love and patience, “I’ll take it from here!”
As the voice continued, Trudy’s heart filled with an overwhelming peace.
“Trudy, you are one of my dearest of daughters because you lived your life with love and compassion. Always your thoughts were about others as you tried to make life so much better for so many. I know your heart. I know how much you miss your boys and I know that through the years their hearts will ache for you. Although I can’t send you back because that would upset my Eternal Plan, I do have another plan for you. Let me whisper it to you and you tell me if that will help you feel better about being in Heaven.”
Trudy closed her eyes and listened to a very still voice that only she could hear and a soft, lovely smile lighted her face.
“Will that do?” God asked at last out loud.
“Yes,” Trudy’s voice trembled as she looked upward and answered through her now happy tears. “That will do.”
After that miraculous event, Trudy never again was assigned to polish halos. She didn’t even have to hang up robes or sing in the choir or make welcome signs—although she was the very best in that last mentioned department! Once in awhile she was asked to visit some new-comers and teach them a few of the truths they’d missed on earth. But most of all Trudy was delighted to be busy with what she cared about most—her family.
When Aaron was tired and weary and felt like life was a little too burdensome without her, Trudy would stand beside him. And even though Aaron couldn’t see her, he would feel her strength and he would push forward with more energy and purpose.
When Adam was discouraged and wished that his mom could be there to watch him play baseball, she would be on the sidelines cheering him on. And even though Adam couldn’t see her, he could feel her love for him and he would try even harder.
And when Tyler refused to go to pre-school because he needed his mom so much, Trudy would lightly take his hand and he would know that she would always be with him.
Even the rest of Trudy’s family—her sisters and brothers and parents and in-laws and all of her friends, too—could feel her presence with them, helping them decide what to do when choosing was hard and giving them comfort and encouragement.
And when it was time for another beautiful person to come into her family’s life to help love and take care of them, Trudy was right there making sure that the very right one was chosen.
Whenever she had a few minutes after everyone seemed to be well taken care of—which wasn’t very often—Trudy would work on the mansion she was getting ready for her family. It was a beautiful heavenly home that was big enough for all those she loved and plenty big enough for everyone her boys came to love, too.
So Heaven became a place of peace for Trudy. And Earth became a place of peace for all of Trudy’s family and friends.
And even in the Highest of Heavens God smiled and said, “Yes, that will do.”