"All God's angels come to us disguised."
James Russell Lowell
It's funny, I think, or strange or kind of weird - whichever word you want to use - when you are standing in line at the grocery store and before you know it, the person in front of you is telling you something that you know, in your knowing place, is not just random stranger speak. It's more like something you're pretty sure God wants you to hear.
This happened to me the other day when I was running helter-skelter from one store to another, and trying to polish silver and bake blueberry muffins during the in-between times. Actually standing in a longish, slow-moving line was a kind of reprieve from the hustle and bustle. I actually rested for a few minutes, though I doubt my tired legs considered it much of a break.
"Oh dear," said the woman if front of me half-way through emptying her cart, more to herself than to anyone else. "I've forgotten my Dad;s ice cream." Looking at me, she asked if I minded if she ran and got it while we waited.
It wasn't a problem for me, so she left. I continued to unload her cart, thinking it would be my act of kindness for the day. She came back carrying one half gallon of chocolate and one of vanilla. Just what I buy! She smiled as she skooched by me back to her basket and commented, "the newspaper in the morning and ice cream at night are the highlights of my Dad's day."
I easily related to that. So I struck up a conversation by asking if she is a caregiver, does she live with her dad; nosy questions that didn't seem nosy at the time. Her answers were yes and we kind of compared notes. As her groceries were nearing the end of the conveyor belt she said, "I consider it a privilege to take care of my dad."
Cough, cough, sputter, sputter. That was me trying to grasp what she'd just said and how to respond. I was speechless for a moment. But right there in front of the tabloid newspapers and People Magazine, I realized that I'd been talking to an angel. How else was God going to get my attention? Write across the sky with a Divine Sharpie? No, I think He used that woman to remind me, in the middle of all my busy-ness, that my real life focus is the privilege of taking care of my dad. Perhaps not the only focus, but the job he's set before me.
Somehow it sat better coming from the Heavenly Father, rather than the curmudgeon who reminds me on a regular basis that he is - or should be - my priority. If he had his way, writing groups, parties, church work, relationships with myself and others would all take a backseat to that job. I believe God wants me to have the other things in my life too, but doesn't want me to forget, or be too hard on Grumpy Grampy!
All that awareness happened in a split second, which is actually another miracle because I'm usually slow on the uptake. I thanked the woman and it was her turn to be taken aback! For what? she asked. And I explained I was grateful for the reminder. That indeed, being with my father at the end of his life, hard as it is somedays, is a privilege. There are lots of people who don't get that gift on either side of the relationship street.
Now my task is to remember. Not to mention being more aware of the angelic messengers that hover around trying to keep me on the path that lies ahead.
How about you? Had any angelic encounters lately? Participated in any miracles?
Maybe we're more tuned into angels during the holiday season. With all that singing, how could we not be? I'm pretty sure, however, that the gift of an angel's presence is not a seasonal thing. Just look at a newborn baby as it sleeps, or the wonder on a child's face when he sees the ocean for the first time, or a soldier's gratitude as steps back on home soil, or a mother's smile as she hears her child's name called at graduation, or the family that gets home in time for Christmas in spite of winter storms, or the husband and wife who after 60 years of marriage crawl into bed, wrap their bodies into a natural spoon shape and say goodnight in each other's arms.
To me angels are just another way of communicating God's most precious gift to us dimwits here on earth. It's L-O-V-E the angels are saying. Love with all your heart they tell us over and over again. As long as it takes for everyone to get the message, I think there will be angels to remind us.
I wish for you chance encounters and surprise messages. Mostly I wish you love,