Angel memorials bring to mind the interesting dedication in best selling author Kurt Vonnegut’s famous 1976 novel Slapstick. Using the little-known real names of the famous comedic film team Laurel and Hardy, Vonnegut dedicated the book “to the memory of Arthur Stanley Jefferson and Norvell Hardy, two angels of my time.” That may be one of the more unique – and famous – angel memorials of all time. The entire book is, more or less, a tribute to the film careers of the comedy duo and a philosophic reflection on what their humor meant to Vonnegut himself as a child.
Angel memorials, as this example shows, are about as varied as angels themselves. The image of Laurel and Hardy, who were forever getting whitewashed by buckets of paint falling on their heads from ladders, as angels may be somewhat strange, but it’s also comforting. The idea of those two stammering around Heaven in the eternal service of almighty God gives hope – not to mention a bit of a chuckle – to every human that angels can be born from the meekest of spirits: a good-hearted soul is all that’s required. Such is the blessed role of the most effective angel memorials.
While Vonnegut’s most unusual of angel memorials is not necessarily the norm – angel memorials rarely take the form of an entire novel -- angel memorials do generally have at their heart the same overall theme. They demonstrate the human belief that all good people – those who, as Vonnegut says of Laurel and Hardy, consistently “bargain in good faith with destiny – are angels at heart.
Angel memorials, in other words, are simply celebrations – no matter what the form – of all that is good, and godly, in mankind. Angel memorials are, therefore, a comfort to families who have lost a loved-one. Imagining all that is good in a man or woman (or even child) being forever transported to heavenly glory where it will reign with God for eternity is an incredibly powerful way to put a grieving heart and mind at ease. Angel memorials do not have to be as elaborate as an entire novel. A simple picture of an angel on a gravestone or urn will be enough to forever remind the world that – while the angelic spirit may be temporarily lost to those on Earth – it is part of the eternal beauty of eternal goodness.
Angel memorials are most interesting in that they bring to life the famous Beatitude “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.” Angel memorials, historically speaking, are often reserved for memorials in honor of the meek of our world. Powerful kings and presidents and other leaders – except those such as revolutionaries who lived their lives as underdogs – are not typically memorialized as angels. No, angel memorials more often adorn the memorial displays of the average person (in other words the meek) who simply lived a good life, without all the earthly advantages that accompany fame and fortune. So, angel memorials then are a wonderful demonstration that, in the end, the meek no only inherit Earth, but heaven, too.
Angel memorials are an everlasting reminder of the glory that will always come from living the best, most angelic, life possible.
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