Archive | Angels

Comfort Angel


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Peanut M&Ms. This happened because of a divine craving for Peanut M&Ms.

I’d been working all morning on a project for the hospital and had eaten lunch at my desk (again – a sacrifice I happily make in order to have more Writing Time in the morning), and suddenly I just couldn’t sit there any more. I needed a break. I needed Peanut M&Ms.

Which I’d have to take a long walk to get, since the shortcut to the cafeteria has been closed during construction of the new hospital. I didn’t care – something was needling me to get up and get moving.

I came out of my building, a small building on the hospital campus, and immediately noticed a woman on the front porch of the MRI building next to my building. She was leaning against the railing, bent at the waist, arms on the railing. Head hanging.

Something in me recognized her body language. And what her body was saying was,

Help me, please.
Just let me breathe for a minute.

I walked by. Wondering. And Knowing.

Knowing she was waiting for someone. Someone inside the MRI building.

I walked by. I was tempted to stop.

I walked by.

I headed for the cafeteria. I didn’t quite make it – I stopped at the espresso cart and bought a brownie instead, from a woman whose English I couldn’t understand and who couldn’t understand me (“No, not oatmeal cookIE, brownIEEE…”) but who was clearly very happy to see me.

I turned around and headed back, around the building, across the parking lot between the MRI building and my building.

She was still there.

Leaning against the railing, head resting on her arms.

I changed direction and headed toward her, but meandering around the perimeter of the parking lot. Indirectly, like I do with the horses. Like I did with customers at the store. Indirectly, so they wouldn’t feel me coming and spook. Until I was right next to her.

She raised her head, and made like to move out of the way.

“Excuse me,” I said. But instead of moving past her, I stopped next to her. “Are you OK?”

She stood up a little straighter, and nodded.

“Yes, I’m OK. I’m waiting for my husband,” she said, nodding toward the building. “I’m trying to be strong.”

I nodded. “Would you like a hug?” I asked.

She hesitated, then nodded. I took her in, and when she tried to pull away, I gave her another squeeze before letting go.

She came up with tears in her eyes. “We’re here to see if his glioblastoma is back,” she said. “They take the pictures, and then we go see the doctor to find out what they show.”

“I understand,” I said quietly. Boy, did I. The hope. The dread.

I wanted to say, “Don’t worry, everything is going to be all right.” Because I know it will be. But probably not in the way she wants.

So instead I asked, “Can I get you anything?”

“No,” she said, “Thanks.”

“I’ll keep you in my thoughts,” I told her, and we parted. Both of us with tears in our eyes.

And she was in my thoughts all afternoon, as I beamed her love and courage while I worked on my spreadsheets and formulas. I beamed faith that Everything Is Going To Be All Right. Because I know it’s true.

Even if it’s not the outcome you hope for. Everything is going to be all right.

Maybe she was able to stand up a little straighter. Maybe a little breeze of grace blew through her and she was able to take her first deep breath in… days.

Maybe the entire reason I got this job six months ago and had a craving for Peanut M&Ms that turned into a brownie was for that moment. That encounter. That chance for her to be Seen. To know that she isn’t alone.

Maybe that’s the entire point.

Of everything.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Parking Lot Angel


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I pulled into a parking spot at the grocery store, just before lunch time, after a meeting and on my way to one of my jobs. On top of the world after a successful meeting.

I got out of the Corvette, and a guy in a pick-up truck had pulled up behind me, window rolled down. He held out a brochure.

“May I give this to you?” he asked.

Oh no, I thought, a religious tract.

“Sure,” I said, suspicious.

“We’re the oldest Corvette association in America, and we’re right up in San Ramon. We’d love to have you come.”

Not what I expected. “Cool!” I said, “Thank you!”

Standing in line at the deli counter, I burst out laughing. People looked askance. “Damn,” I said to myself.

Ah, the irony. And the perfection. I’ve been driving (and loving) the Corvette for nine and a half years, and this Parking Lot Angel finds me now, when I am thinking about wrestling with selling it.

(I told the whole story to a friend last night, and he said, “You are cool. The Corvette is cool by association.”)

Well, I will go to their next meeting. They may be able to help me sell it. Or they may be able to help me not sell it. And they may be angels for my other work, too.

Either way, angels are not to be ignored.

Hallway Angel


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It had been a long week, and it was only Wednesday.

A week of highs and lows. Of time spent with the horses, of wonderful, uplifting, encouraging conversations.

And. A week of conversations that made me think, If I am ever in another Relationship I have so much to learn, so much work to do on myself, so much I want to do differently.

A week of looking in the mirror and thinking, I’m not young anymore. I have lines on my face I didn’t have before. And they’re not laugh lines. I’m not pretty. No one will ever love me again.

(I’ve gotten pretty good, over the years, at not indulging in negative self-talk. But I succumbed. And I noticed.)

Like I said. It had been a long week. And it was only Wednesday.

But on this Wednesday I had gone into The City for the monthly meeting of coaches and, as always, it filled me up.

I was standing in the hallway outside the hotel’s restrooms, waiting for a friend to come out so we could walk together to the train station. Standing, not thinking, just basking in the afterglow of a really good meeting with friends and colleagues and a speaker who had given me a lot to ponder.

I looked up from my pondering, and there was a man standing in front of me.

“Excuse me,” he said, “but I just had to tell you. Even from across the room. You’re beautiful.”

I gaped at him.

“Really,” he went on. “Stunning.”

I’m talking to an angel, I thought.

“This isn’t a pick-up,” he hurried to add. “I’m here with a date. I just had to tell you.”

“Thank you,” I managed to say. “I appreciate that.”

“You are, you know. Really. Beautiful.” I could smell alcohol, he had clearly come out of the bar, not out of our meeting, and was headed for the restrooms. I’d never seen him before. Maybe the angel took on the smell of alcohol to make himself seem real, I thought. Or maybe the alcohol made it easy for the angel to nudge him to action. Either way, it was exactly what I needed to hear.

“Thank you,” I said again. “I really appreciate that.”

Thank you, Angel. Whoever you are.


Take notice, the next time one of your angels whispers in your ear and nudges you to be an angel for someone else.
Are you willing to let yourself be nudged?

Image courtesy of papaija2008 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Bus Stop Angel


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“I can’t go to medical school. I’ll be 40 when I finish.”

I was sitting at the bus stop, enjoying a beautiful spring afternoon, when I heard one side of a conversation behind me.

“No one will want to marry me when I’m in medical school, and how can I have kids while I’m in medical school?”

Really, I thought, doesn’t she watch Grey’s Anatomy? Med students and interns and residents get married and have kids and the world doesn’t come to an end.

“I can’t go to medical school.”

I couldn’t let that go by. Without thinking for more than a flash second I turned around and saw a young African-American woman in scrubs, wearing a headset, talking on the phone.

“Go to medical school,” I said. “You’ll turn 40 whether you do or not. Go to medical school.”

She gaped at me, and pulled out her ear-buds. “What?”

“Go to medical school! You’ll turn 40 whether you do or not.”

“Oh,” she said, and nodded slightly, and put her ear-buds back in.

Now I’ve done it, I thought. She must really think I’m a crack-pot. (Although I believe that people who carry on phone conversations in public invite a certain amount of audience participation.)

The bus came, and we got on. I sat down in the middle, and she went on to the back of the bus and carried on with her conversation, talking about the medical office where she worked, complaining about the doctor she works for, how one of her co-workers said she thought he discriminated against people but the woman on the bus told her, “No, he treats everybody bad.” She stopped talking about not going to med school, though. At least for the moment.

My stop came before hers, and I got up and headed for the back door. I expected her to glower at me for eavesdropping and butting into her conversation. Instead, she waved gaily at me and gave me a big grin.

Go to medical school. Be a better doctor and a better person than the jerk you work for. Show him how it’s done. Be true to yourself, and find someone who sees you shine and will be willing to figure out study schedules and childcare and parent with you. Go to medical school. We need you. You need you.

Image courtesy of anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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