I remember once sitting next to an old country preacher and hearing him talk about heaven. He wasn’t that far away from glory (the preacher’s words, not mine) and was looking forward to everything that entailed—the pearly gates and the streets of gold and whatnot. And he was downright giddy at the prospect of having dinner with Jesus. That’s what the preacher was looking forward to most.
When I asked why, he said it was because Jesus would then tell him about the things that had been hidden in the life of one ordinary country preacher. Of the angels that surrounded him and the small miracles that came to and through him. Of the lives he touched and those who had touched his own.
“Every life has its share of danglin’ threads,” he told me. “Heaven’s where those ends get tied together. That’s when we finally see the fine-looking tapestry God was weavin’ all along.”
I reckoned that was true. I also thought it a shame that we could see the real beauty of our lives only when our lives were over. Wouldn’t it be nice, I thought, if those angels would make themselves known to us here? Wouldn’t it help if we could see the beauty of our lives now?
That’s what Paper Angels is about—one ordinary man who discovers he’s been living an extraordinary life all along, a life filled with angels both real and mostly real.
It is a story about a man named Andy Sommerville, but it’s also a story about me and you and an old country preacher. Because we all have our share of danglin’ threads, and we’re each being woven into a masterpiece.
Billy Coffey and his wife, Joanne, live with their two children in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. A product of his small-town locale, Billy counts as assets his rural authenticity, unwavering sense of purpose, and insatiable curiosity–all of which tend to make his front porch a comfortably crowded place.You can find him online at BillyCoffey.com