At times I thought he was my guardian angel. The way that he was scattered throughout my day, popping up in moments when I was praying to God about my worldly woes, offering his faith, a laugh, and pure, unadulterated encouragement made me believe that he was heaven sent. He was Patrick.
I worked closely with Patrick as he was the successor of my position on campus as a student employee.
From the beginning I could see that he needed a little more attention than most, a little help. I could never get annoyed with his untimeliness or his constantly submitting projects in late, because I saw his genuine attempts at reaching out to the students that he works with. I never minded helping him put together his bulletin boards or help him come up with creative ideas. Never was there a wasted moment that passed between us.
Around finals week, this beautiful soul went through such hardships, troubles, and scary times. Patrick went missing for a while. All I could think was how could I have not seen the signs? How did I miss him struggling with his evil demons? How did I let him feel like he was alone? My powers to help Patrick were limited to desperate prayers. While he wandered in pain in the cold nights of the metropolitan streets, I was curled up in my warm bed, clutching my hands together and praying.
Patrick was found in the sense that he is here bodily, but his sparkle is missing from his soul, his personality, his mien. I stumbled upon him on campus after the whole ordeal and took the time to talk to him. A forced smile broke on his face when he saw me. No matter how uncomfortable he was, he stayed to talk to me, to open up to me. I had to fight every urge to wrap him in a great big hug and keep him safe.
Patrick detailed the horrors that he went through and unveiled to me the fears that are dragging down his usually joyous heart. The only thing that I had to offer him, the only sort of consolation that I could provide, were my words. Reader, I could not have said enough to this young man if my life was dependent on it. He was my protector, my provider of hope, my solid rock of faith, I could not bare to see him suffer.
For the first time in knowing Patrick I told him how valuable he was in this world, how valuable he was to me. Why had I waited until now to do so? Why had my words that made him smile a bit more gracefully not reached his ears before he went through all of that pain? And, most painfully, I screamed on the inside, why Patrick?
Why would someone who has already gone through a hard life have to deal with anything else? If anything, he should be the one who is spared in this world of heartache, fear, and pain.
In our sidewalk chat he confided that my talking to him had already made him feel a bit better. I assured him that I was available to talk or just sit with him at anytime.
For a while I need to be his guardian angel because this world needs Patrick.