Ricardo

A Short Story
Written February 8th, 2011

Fifteen Years Earlier
“Ricardo Luis Sanchez Gandara,” the superior said, with a folder in his hands, “he is your assignment.”
The angel took his new assignment in his hands, and began reading through the background of the young child.
His father, a drug user and dealer. Angry and violent. The angel cringed.
His mother, suffers from depression, drug user, abused as a child. The angel’s eyes closed in pain.
Page after page of lineage for little Ricardo continued similar to his father and mother’s. Grandparents. Great-grandparents. Uncles, Aunts, cousins. Great-uncles, great-aunts, second, third cousins.
He turned another page.
Great-great-grand-mother, Clara Rute Hernandez Gonzales.
Her profile read differently.
It began at age twenty-two, unlike all the rest, that began from birth.
The angel brightened.
Clara, a devote Christian woman, despite her husband’s alcoholism, served Yahweh until she breathed her last, at age eighty-four. Prayed for her children. Her children’s children. And her great-great-grand children.
The angel closed the folder and decided he would go find this Clara Rute Hernandez Gonzales. He would tell her to pray again for her great-great grandson Ricardo Luis Sanchez Gandara. He would find her, and he knew just where she would be.

Today
The faithful angel stood to the boy’s left. He sighed and looked up, but still the Father would not let him depart the young boy.
The angel looked around the room at demons that coward in the corner. The demons that wanted his young charge’s soul.
Then he looked to the two that the boy had entertained.
The first was Lust.
Ricardo had a magazine on his lap, one that lust had suggested to him.
The angel felt his ribs as a reminder of that fight.
The second was pride.
His haughty eyes could be felt from the corner of the room, where he smirked and bragged to the other demons.
Fear, Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, Depression, and several others often tried to get in with him often.
For a time Fear had a hold on Ricardo, when he was just a child. Alcoholism got in when Ricardo turned thirteen, but only until Jaime started coming around.
Jaime started getting the kid to run errands with him, got him to help around his house. Jaime’s oldest son, Jorge, was killed by a drunk driver only a few years before Jaime and his wife moved onto Ricardo’s street. To Jaime, watching Ricardo waste his life on alcohol, being the same age as his Jorge, was more than ironic.
It was heart-wrenching.
Eventually Ricardo came out to the youth group at Jaime’s church. And eventually Sunday mornings, then Wednesday Bible studies.
Jaime saw the beginnings of pride in the boy’s eyes.
He prayed and prayed, asked the Lord what was going on in Ricardo’s life. Why Pride had a foot-hold. And what else did. He knew in his spirit it was not only the only one.
The boy put the magazine under his bed with the others, got up, and started walking toward the door.
The angel looked with concerned eyes as he saw Violence making his way closer and closer to his charge.
He had been noticing it for a few weeks now, and new it was only a matter of time. Pride. Lust. Violence was never far off.
But still the Angel knew he was not released.
Clara’s prayers, Jaime’s prayers, and many others that were now praying for the boy kept the Angel right where he was.
But as long as Ricardo entertained and accepted the bait from the evil one, the Angel knew there wasn’t much he could do.
As Ricardo walked out of the small tin house, the Angel looked over at the boy’s mother.
Behind her stood another Angel of light.
That Angel gave the other a nod of confirmation.
Ricardo’s mother had surrendered her life to Yahweh.
The Angel looked to his young charge who was completely unaware of the entourage that followed him everywhere he went.
Everywhere except Church, which was where Ricardo was going now.
A young boy from the youth group, a completely sold out for Yahweh, boy of age seventeen, named Jolio, followed by another Angel of light.
Jolio was carrying a guitar used to play worship music to Yahweh. That was the only music ever played on the instrument.
With an Angel on either side of the boys, the demons couldn’t get close to Ricardo.
They tried to get in near Jolio, but Jolio’s Angel took out his sword and the demons shuttered and scattered quickly to Ricardo’s side.
But as Jolio talked on about God’s goodness, slowly but surely Ricardo began to be convicted.
First for looking at the magazine.
Pride came then, “No one knows I look at those magazines,” Pride said in first person to Ricardo, “I can serve God and do what I want to, right? Yes, of course I can, who is perfect anyway?”
But on the way Jolio suggested they sing! He took out his guitar and began singing Our God by Chris Tomlin.
The Angels joined the boys singing the song, in Spanish of course, and when they got to the bridge the Angels not so much heard or saw, as felt when the demons RAN from them.
“And if our God is for us,” Jolio, Ricardo and the Angels sang, “Then who could ever stop us,” the song went on, “and if our God is with us,” Ricardo’s heart was softening, “then what could stand against!”
They sang it over and over. Then they sang the chorus again, Ricardo with a tear beginning in his right eye. Both Angels saw it.
“Our God is greater, Our God is stronger, God You are higher than any–”
“Jolio, man, I gotta tell you something,” Ricardo said, humility and conviction in his eyes.
Ricardo’s Angel looked back to see in the distance a cowering Pride. The Angel took out his sword, and the demon went fleeing.
The Angel smiled. It felt good to have some authority back.
He watched the boys talking, Ricardo confessing his sins, and he could feel the presence of Yahweh so strong.
Ricardo recommitted his life to Yahweh then. He committed to be accountable to Jolio.
It was then that Yahweh revealed to the Angel His plan for Ricardo. His plan for Ricardo’s life. He was to be a man of influence. One day the boy would be a man of influence. A Pastor respected by Politicians and people in Government. He would offer wisdom and prayer to godly men and woman.
A man of Honor.
A man of God.
The Angel looked up and saw Great-great-grandmother Clara with the others.
The woman who’s history had started at age twenty-two.
The Angel took out again Ricardo’s file.
He looked to Yahweh, and received a nod.
The previous history was tossed as far as the east is from the west, to be remembered no more.
And now his own story would begin again.
From age 15.