Lil Bit Saves a Soldier
By Nita Wilson
All Heaven had been watching the horrible battles on earth. There were not as many sad angels as one would expect, as this war was over slavery and it had to be fought. The time for sadness had passed before the war began. A gentler solution to the hatred and evil had been thwarted by Lucifer convincing hard headed humans to continue owning slaves for their own profits. The earthlings had convinced themselves that the very people of God’s creation that they held in bondage were beneath them and not worthy of having a life. Angels had been sent to reason with these people over and over again and the few who listened were outnumbered by those who did not. All they could do now was watch for and save people God had ordained to stay on earth, and make sure they were safe. All angels were commissioned to accomplish this and gave it their utmost attention.
Lil Bit had been watching a little drummer boy take chances way beyond his years, running behind the hungry soldiers in the gray uniforms some with boots some without. The child was missing the deadly shower of musket balls by inches. His heart was in this more than his senses and she knew she had to do something. She landed in a small bush next to his hiding place in a shallow ditch and as he started to dart out and into the fray, she shook the branches of the bush and scared him back into his ditch. He looked up to see what caused the bush to move and looked directly in to Lil Bit’s eyes.
“Who’re you?” The scared little boy asked the angel.
“I’m Lil Bit. You can see me?” She was as surprised as the boy with this turn of events.
“Oh course I can see you, do you think me blind?” He asked indignantly. “Why are you in that bush, don’t you know the Yankees are firing on us? Duck and get down here with me.” He moved to the side and gave her room in the shallow ditch.
She cocked her head to see into his heart.
“Why are you here in such danger? My Father says your ma is worried about you and cries for you every night.”
“Ah, stuff and nonsense; your pa don’t know my ma. Where’d you come from and why don’t you go back and leave me be?”
“I’m an angel and I live in Heaven. Can’t you see my wings?” She looked into his heart and saw fear and sadness and knew he was missing his ma.
“Am I dead?” He pulled on his clothing, and looked to see if he had been shot.
“No, our Father wants you to stay on earth; he has important things for you to do when you are grown.” She put a hand on his shoulder and he relaxed into what she was saying.
“Why are you fighting to keep men in heavy chains and bonds? Do you own another person?” She was really curious. Why would a young boy be so cruel?
“No, of course not. I don’t own no slaves and neither does my ma. I’m fightin’ cause the damn yanks are trying to tell us what to do. This ain’t about slaves; this is about being a good southern boy and fightin’ for our rights. Don’t you know anything up there in heaven?” He laughed what he thought was a grown up boy’s laugh at her silliness.
Lil Bit put one hand on his heart and one on his head. Suddenly the little boy could see people in Heaven; people gathered in friendships and love, all colors, all different sizes and different garments. They were laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Then his view changed and she showed him a group of tattered and torn Africans chained together, sad and forlorn with scars on backs and legs, some missing eyes, some missing fingers, and limbs but all very miserable. They were being loaded onto wagons by white men with guns and whips. The little boy saw one old man with hope still in his eyes and the boy began to cry.
“That’s why I’m here without my ma? To keep these poor people chained and miserable? Is this the truth Lil Bit?” She nodded her head. “Yes.” She said tenderly holding his hand and leading him out of the ditch and through a stand of small willow trees.
“I want my ma. I didn’t know Lil Bit, I swear I didn’t.” He was openly crying and trying to hide it with his big boy façade.
“Close your eyes, Casa. I’ll have you home in a second. You must tell your ma you’ve come a long way. I don’t think I’m supposed to show you how to fly.”
“If I get to my house from here, I have gone a long way, fly or not….FLY, did you say FLY… Lil Bit, humans don’t fly, you’ve mistaken me for a bird. I’ll just stick to the creek and go home that way. FLY… boy you angels sure know how to make a fella laugh.” He took a step and was in the air, his little drum hanging from his shoulder strap across his chest with the wind knocking it into his side.
“Look down, Casa, see how the creek makes a big worm along the ground? Funny huh? See the nests in the top of the trees? If you watch you can see a bird look at us with total disbelief. It’s funny. We’re going through a cloud; we call them God’s breath? Watch.”
She began to knead and push the cloud until it made the shape of a drum with crossed drum stix lying over the top. She took him down close to the ground so he could look up and see her creation. “Wow, that’s great. May I make one?”
“Sure. She showed him how to push and blow on the clouds until they moved where he wanted them. Within a few minutes he pulled her down almost to the ground and she could see he had made his ma waiting at the cabin door for him.
“Wow, Casa, you have cloud talent. Some don’t you know. Look there’s your house; I’m going to leave you here so you can go to your ma. Remember, our Father has plans for you, take care and stay out of trouble.” She laid him quietly and gently under a tall pine and went back to Heaven.
Casa awakened and looked around. He realized where he was but he had no idea how he got there. He heard his ma calling and saw her running to him.
“Casa, my baby. You came home. I prayed for you every day. Thank God you’re safe.” She grabbed him up and held him close. Then she pushed him away and pulled him by his ear toward home.
“Don’t you ever run away from home again. I should take you to the wood shed for scaring me so, but I won’t this time. If you ever do it again, I won’t be responsible for what comes your way, you bad boy.” She let go his ear and walked with her arm around his shoulder squeezing and pulling him close back down the old dirt road.
“Ma, did you know the war is to keep poor African people in chains?” He looked up at his ma wondering where he learned this.
“Yes. It’s not our concern, son.”
“Yes it is, Ma. Did you know in Heaven there are no slaves and everyone is friendly with everyone?” Again he wondered how he knew this.
“What nonsense. Let’s get you to bed and I think there is cornbread and buttermilk left from dinner.” Ma and Casa walked into their future, happy, loving and a little wiser about the world.