I am sure that you are familiar with the song about Angels Among Us. It was very popular about 15 years ago. Well, I never hear that song that I dont think about a couple of my own angels that I met during the time that song was playing alot and I wanted to tell you about two of them. So here goes.....
I was unemployed. It was at the Holiday Season. And I was a volunteer Board member on 2nd Chance, the local Domestic Abuse Agency. Our fundraiser every year was to wrap gifts in the Quinard Mall beginning the day after Thanksgiving all the way through Christmas Eve. Since I didnt have a job to go to, I had more time than money, so I volunteered to work all of the days that were open, (and there were quite a few), so I treated that as my job. And I loved it. I would dress in the colors of Christmas every day or I would wear a scarf or a pin that had to do with the Season of Giving. Loved it. I met thousands of people and because I was having such a grand time doing the wrapping of gifts, or because I am not a quiet person, I dont know which, I seemed to draw a lot of attention. The local media came in and interviewed me and asked what the donations were for and why I was there everyday and just your normal interview questions. So I got even more attention. And I captured the attention of a young man in a wheelchair. He was there every day in the mall. Sometimes he sat at the end of the hallway where I was and other days he would sit closer to the gift wrapping booth but was still too shy to come up to talk. So one day on my way to get a snack and beverage on my break I told him to come by and talk with me sometime. So he did. Every single day from the time I got there until I left, he was there. Wheelchair bound and no use of his legs or torso, he still was my favorite elf. He was known by many around as being a mall regular, so he of course drew more attention to my booth and it helped me to make more money for 2nd Chance. It was a win win situation. Then that song started playing over the loudspeaker. And we talked. We talked about religion, politics, God, earth, everything you can imagine. We talked about it. Then it got to be more of a friendship than just a casual acquaitance. He stayed at the booth the whole time I was there, day and night. More customers, well, he waited in line to see me. The very last day I was there was quite busy and I was a little rushed for time and space by that time of the season, so I was not really noticing the small package on the table in front of me. After a few minutes I looked around to see there was a note attached and it was for me. It was from Tommy. He had seen that I was busy and tired and rushed and he didnt want to bother me, so he left this small package for me still in its store bag. I could wrap it if I wanted, the note said, but if not, just look inside. I cry to this very day when I look at that gift. It is among my most treasured items, and I have never used it. But that day and Tommy comes to mind instantly when I open the box and take out those four goldtone angel napkin rings. See, Tommy told me that I was the Angel Among Us at the mall that year and and Angel to him. No one he said had taken the time to talk to him on a level that I did and overlook the wheelchair and the limitations he had. Everyone else wanted to be nice to him but not really get to know him. Tears welled up in my eyes and I told him later I couldnt accept the gift, much less the praise, I was not worthy of either. He disagreed and told me that yes, there are Angels among us. And that was one of the last heartfelt conversations we ever had. Time and work and family and lots of other things have come between us in the years that followed and I never got to tell him goodbye. See Tommy left this world earlier this year. But still when I hear that song or I handle those napkin rings, I know I was the one that was in the company of Angels. Yes, Virginia, there are Angels Among Us.
During that same time I was volunteering and wrapping gifts at the mall, I tried to spread as much cheer as I could to as many folks as I could. So many people would come in and be rushed and hurried, so if I could offer them a Merry Christmas and a candy cane, it seemed to warm the feelings of those coming into the mall and those leaving just a bit and more times than not, I wrapped at least one of their gifts.
There was a man, and I am sorry I dont remember his name, just his face, and his kind gesture. As I said, I was unemployed and was down on my luck in more ways than one, with car problems, no sign of a job, and the unemployment was about to run out. But I still remained happy and cheerful and dressed the part of a happy volunteer because thats what I was. I have faith that God will take care of tomorrow, so I just did what I felt I was led to do and we would worry about the rest later.
This gentleman walked up to the booth. He wasnt from this area and he wasnt sure what this charity was all about. So I gathered information for him and told him that I was on the Board of Directors and that I worked in the Shelter doing things like painting the walls or hanging the shower curtains or taking donated items to them or talking with the women and children one on one sometimes. And at times was just there to give a hug or a warm cup of coffee. So many things a volunteer can do and the rewards are so great. The man took my pamphlets and stayed at the other end of the hallway on a bench and just kept watching me as I talked with the customers and wrapped and attempted to make bows and they all told me I did a good job but I knew that it wasnt the talent I had seen professional wrappers do and present, but mine was filled with love for the stranger taking time to take a chance on my wrapping abilities and making a donation to 2nd Chance.
Later that evening as I was getting ready to leave, the gentleman came back to my booth and asked if I was going to be there tomorrow. Oh yes, I said and told him that I was there from open to close as a matter of fact, so come back by and lets see what odd items I can find to wrap!!!
The next day without fail, the gentleman all bundled up and rushing in from the cold brought me small boxes, large boxes, strange shaped items, just an assortment of things that he bought for his family. Great!!! I was so happy to see a new customer and to get the chance to say thanks for stopping by yesterday and taking the time to read the information about the charity. He talked with me a few minutes and asked why I was doing this. I told him that I was in a relationship many years ago and the person wasnt nice to me, and I vowed that if I could help just one person to avoid what I had gone through then I would and 2nd Chance was developed and I started donating and then became a Board Member and the rest was history. So he listened intently and asked if the person was still in my life. OH NO I exclaimed. I am married to a wonderful man that gives me the moon and stars above, he lets me have animals, he provides me with a roof over my head and a car to drive. He says I dont have to work, but I hope to return back to the working world soon so that I may take some of the financial burden off of him. And we have food. May not be what others would want, but you can usually always find a bowl of soup and some cornbread or pintos and onion on the menu any day of the week at my house. He just smiled and said, that he wished me a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and that he would be back home with his family soon, he was here on business and was missing them so badly when he saw me enjoying myself and just had to see what it was all about. He lived in another county and worked for the State Department of Transportation and he was just in such a better frame of mind because someone actually felt the love of Christmas and knew what it was all about. I smiled and said yes, I guess so, I just try to be happy and upbeat as much as possible because someone somewhere is hurting so much worse than I and having a bad time, so if I can make just one person smile or be happy, then my job is done. The gentleman bid me farewell and Merry Christmas and I did the same to him.
Late that night as the mall was closing, I was getting the scraps of paper up and cleaning up the mess I had made all through the commotion of the day. On the table lay an envelope with VOLUNTEER written on it. Since I was the only one there, I opened it and saw the most touching Christmas Card I have ever seen. He didnt know my name. He didnt know how to tell me in words what I had done to make him so much happier about being able to go home to his wife and children and tell them about the goodwill he had encountered in me. He wrote about my outfits and that he was going to tell everyone he saw to get their gifts wrapped at the mall next year. And he had one more thing. He had put a $20 bill in there. He said he heard me say that I was not working and he felt like I needed something for me. He said I had given to so many others that it was my turn to be treated. And he signed it STATE DOT guy. No name.
I can not put into words what that $20 did for me. I got gas to go home. I got food for myself and my husband (takeout was a big deal) and I got to donate some.
Yes, there are Angels among us. I am certainly not one. I can only strive to be me, and I think that God made me the best person I can be. I just have to live up to His expectations, which is a challenge, but I know I met two angels that season.
How many have I met since then? Countless........and still counting.
Be a Blessing to Someone. Lighten the Load for someone. It will make your day.