He felt as though he was wandering in a place where he had never been before. The pain in his head and leg were gone. The rocky mountain side seemed far away, as if it never existed. Jimmy felt at ease but was unsure where he was until he saw Emma. Somehow she looked differently than he remembered from what seemed only moments ago.
"Where am I Emma?" He turned his head and strained to look over his shoulder. "Can't be heaven. I don't have wings." Emma smiled and took his hand. "You don't have wings because you're not an angel."
Jimmy was puzzled for a moment as he looked around this strange place. "Well if I am not an angel, what am I?" Emma smiled as she moved her hands and the mist below their feet parted, "You are a soldier Jimmy Hatfield and it is time to go home to the ones you love."
Jimmy looked at Emma and asked, "Are you okay? I know I can't do much to help an angel, but I owe you one. Not sure what all you did, but I know it was important and you helped me find my way out of my darkness."
Emma smiled, "You gave to me what I needed, a sense of being. Before you asked for my help I could not find my way. I had looked so hard for so long and couldn't find the answers. But your words came into my heart and awakened me to my purpose."
"Jimmy, remember, if you ever need me I will always be there for you. You must believe and know you have a purpose in life to fulfill. You will become a teacher of children who need to find answers to more than is just in the books. You must go into their darkness and teach them of the light of education. For now though, it is time to go home." Jimmy began to feel his consciousness fade as he looked at Emma's smiling face and freckled nose.
"Jimmy wake up! You have to wake up!" He could hear the words but he struggled to understand them. "Private Jimmy Hatfield! You open your eyes and look at me. Son, please open your eyes." He felt himself returning to reality as he opened his eyes. He looked up into the faces of his mom and dad. They began to cry when he smiled at them. He tried to focus his eyes as he looked around the room; he could tell he was in a hospital.
"What are you two doing in Afghanistan?" His Mom took his hand and said, "Son you are in Washington, D.C., in a hospital. You have been unconscious for five weeks. They didn't think you were going to make it with all your injuries."
Jimmy's dad began to explain, "You were severely injured from a mortar shell that went off near you. The explosion blew you over an embankment into a small ravine down the hill side. The enemy had high ground, fire power, and drove your patrol back down the valley. The steep hill side prevented support from the air to secure the area. Your buddies regrouped in the dark and came back under fire to find you. The sergeant said it was a miracle they found you that far off the path. One of the other soldiers thought he saw a glow in the darkness that made him look that far down the hill side. With your injuries they could not believe you were able to climb that far up without help. They never did figure out what made that light on the side of the hill that didn't draw enemy fire."
Jimmy looked down at his leg and could tell it was no longer there. His dad could see the shock in his eyes. "That is the worst of it son. The doctors will help you to get well and by spring you will be back in those woods you love so much. And next fall you can get that education you wanted so badly.
Jimmy felt around his neck for the chain his mom had given him with an angel on it. "Son are you looking for this?" She held up the chain with the angel with one wing. "They gave me your possessions when we arrived here. I found the other wing and I was going to have it repaired when we get back home."
Jimmy held his hand out to his Mom, "I'll just keep it like that, there is room for two angels with only one wing and they both are very special to me. What day is it?"
His parents laughed, "That's right you don't know, it's Christmas Day. Your return, along with all the other men and women, who serve our country makes this a special day."
Jimmy remembers his dream on the mountain when he believed it was Christmas. It gave him some comfort thinking about home and family. He remembered the little red haired angel who found hope for herself and him in that lost place far from home. He remembered the promise he made to Emma, "I will become a teacher and help kids from mountain homes find hope and light in the world."
Angels are with us each day and when we need a little hope, all we have to do is ask. At this special time of the year, remember the thousands of men and women who wear the uniform of our country and are away from home and families this Christmas. Have hope that the angels will protect those that protect us. Also remember the good in the world and have a little faith that, when the night seems the darkest, you can ask an angel for a little help. Who knows, she might have red hair, one wing and be named Emma, that answers your request as she looks Thru the Lens.