When I got my first car, the much-beloved and still-missed Studentmobile, I put a statue of St. Michael on the dashboard. When I got the big blue minivan of doom twelve years ago, I wanted a St. Raphael statue, but I couldn’t find one, so I got another St. Michael. I figure the defender against evil is just fine for American highways, right, even though St. Raphael is the patron of travelers.
Last Saturday I went to the Post Offal to mail a hat to one of our blog-readers and afterward stopped at the secondhand store looking for knitting needles or yarn. None, but I did find a St. Raphael statue, about three inches tall and with a marble base. One buck.
When I paid for him, the cashier asked who it was, so I said, “My caseworker.” St. Raphael has been much better to me than I deserve.
For example, in 1991 I wanted a date for Valentine’s Day and he’s the saint of finding your marriage partner, so I talked to him for 30 minutes about potential dates and asked him to pick out someone for me. I’m sure he realized that if he didn’t get rid of me once and for all, I’d be back again eventually, so by the end of the week I was dating the guy who I’m still married to.
Walking outside, I felt a little surge: I could put him in my car.
I thought, “I’m not going to evict St. Michael. He’s been there twelve years.”
Come home. Put St. Raphael on my desk. Prepare for the rest of the day: violin lesson after noon and Kiddo4 for birthday dinner in the evening.
Next up: violin lesson gets cancelled.
Change in plans: birthday dinner out will be birthday lunch instead.
Pile everyone into Big Blue Minivan of Doom.
Patient Husband takes wrong route to restaurant and we get stuck in major traffic. 20 minute trip takes 60 minutes. We get there and there’s now a 45 minute wait, meaning kids wouldn’t start eating until 1:15.
Change in plans: McDonalds.
Patient Husband: “We should just stay in Ten Miles Away until 5pm.”
The Yarn Store took about fifteen minutes. Hmm. We decided to drop by the car dealership, since we’re planning to replace the twelve-year-old van sometime before our oldest enters college, on the grounds that whatever car I’m driving when he starts college will probably be the same one I’m driving when Kiddo4 graduates. I said, “We’ll just get on their list, and whenever they need an easy target to reach end-of-the-month incentives, they’ll call us. We might get lucky.”
At the car dealership: “We’re just looking at the pretties.”
We spent 90 minutes there, with the kids locking each other in display model trunks and clambering all over nice clean engines and putting footprints on beautiful leather seats. In desperation the sales guy took us for a test drive, and my Patient Husband and I made lots of one-liners and stupid remarks, and finally in a fit of panic the sales guy realized that if he didn’t get rid of us once and for all, we might eventually come back. And he couldn’t deal with that.
With tears and hand-wringing, he and his manager offered us $4000 over book value for our trade-in. I asked for more.
Um, yeah. Guess what?
I figured we’d get called toward the end of some month sometime, and I forgot it already was the end of the month.
But here’s the question: how did my guardian angel know in the morning that we were getting a new car in the evening? We weren’t even supposed to be at the dealership, let alone buying a car. Car-buying was supposed to happen in September. Or was that the Holy Spirit (who obviously would know)? Because in retrospect, that “You can put it in your car” feels a lot like “You can put it in the new car.”
I’ve written stories (unpublished) where angels have some non-linearity in time, and it would work with that. But…but… Really? Timey-wimey?
And yeah, St. Raphael fits just great.