There is a repost floating around Facebook now, reminding us all that the holidays aren’t happy for everyone.
I don’t need it. I remember. This year is tough with both my parents gone and an older son who is most often far away.
Last night, I found something I did need. Desperately. And I didn’t know how much I needed it until I read it with my eight-year-old just before bed.
The book is titled god bless the gargoyles–just like that with no caps. This author avoids those.
It caught my eye on the shelf where the fantastic public librarians propped it up for me to find like they do. The rich oil painting on the cover with the bright and dark contrasting colors pulled me to it. And the sad gargoyles. I adored them, too, on sight.
As an added bonus, I noticed that Dav Pilkey, the author and painter, was a Caldecott honor artist.
The storyline follows the history of gargoyles from their origin as protectors to a time when people no longer understood them and did not think they belonged in a sacred space above our cathedrals. That’s when the angels came down from heaven to comfort their wounded hearts and fly with them through the night.
The pages are filled with a soulful beatitude, blessing “the hearts and the souls who are grieving” and “all the creatures alone and unwanted” in a rhythm and rhyme that soothes even as the paintings show the gargoyles flying with their angels.
My favorite lines were near the end: “and the gargoyles beheld wherever they roamed that the souls of the lost weren’t really alone. each one had an angel, each one was protected, and each one was cherished and loved and respected.”
I needed that. I needed the image of comfort for myself and for the moments when my loved ones have felt alone and I could not be there.
Read the book. Read it out loud. If you are grieving or if you know someone who is, it will soothe you. If you love gorgeous oil paintings and gargoyles, it will reach your heart. I promise as much as anyone can promise that a book will sing to someone else, too.