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Angels Among Us

I’m so excited! After we purchased our ramp-van about five years ago, I haven’t been able to drive it without assistance (kind of takes away from the idea of independence). The newer vehicles are equipped with button release or locking system gearshifts to avoid slipping out of park. As an incomplete quadriplegic, my hand strength is fairly limited rendering me incapable of releasing the gearshift from the park position. A few weeks ago, I discovered a company (Mobility Innovations) that installs adaptive equipment for driving. Unfortunately, the gearshift device recommended for my van isn’t practical for my specific needs. This is where an angel stepped into my life.

Years ago, we had hand-controls installed for me. Though useful, they weren’t set to my particular needs and were difficult to use. My husband had an ingenuous plan for remedying the situation but not the tools or materials to do so. We told a machinist friend about our idea, and he immediately went to work at creating a beautifully designed and workable solution. Now this amazing angel is in the process of designing and fabricating a device that will allow me to easily slip the gearshift out of park. Voila! I will finally be totally independent while driving.

I found that a higher level of independence was becoming imperative when Guy was recently faced with a few health challenges. Suddenly my husband/primary caregiver was out of commission, and he needed my help. Since his situation was inconsistent and unpredictable hiring a caregiver wasn’t feasible. As each day unfolded, we found ourselves surrounded by an army of angels. Friends, neighbors, and family surrounded us with love and used their hands as God’s hands to assist where needed and when needed. Their support gave us the physical and emotional strength to overcome this particular event in our mortal journey. It has also buoyed our faith in knowing there are angels on this earth, and they come to our aid whenever we call them.

I started recognizing the angels in my life during my transition from able-bodied to“enabled-bodied” (one empowered by assistive devices). As the physical challenges of walking became greater and greater my vision became clearer and clearer. Rather than bemoaning each circumstance I eventually started noticing God’s helping hands guiding me to the other side.

Working in downtown Seattle was especially trying. Navigating the busy streets to and from work was extremely stressful and somewhat dangerous due to my unwillingness to rely on assistive devices (canes, walkers) in the early stages of my physical decline. One situation has always stood out in my mind and often brings tears to my eyes when I reflect on how much God loves me as He sent this angel to my side.

Angel In The Grey Overcoat

It was a wet, blustery morning. The light blinked “walk”, as if taunting me to cross. I took a deep breath, leaned into the wind, and began the long trek across the intersection. My legs, now affected by the cold weather, stiffened causing me to slow down and concentrate on one unsteady step after the other. Halfway across the street, my umbrella was blown inside out and threatened to leave my grasp. I struggled to maintain my balance while I fought to right the unruly thing and ended up closing the tattered piece of wires and blue fabric in defeat.

Drenched, I stood in the street and sensed irritation from the harried pedestrians trying to pass. A degree of urgency now added stress to my already tight muscles. I attempted to move my legs towards the safety of the sidewalk, but they weren’t going anywhere. Contrary to my prayer request, the muscles in my legs were completely frozen. Stranded in the middle of the street, holding a useless umbrella, I looked up to see my worst nightmare come true. The streetlight flashed— don’t walk.

Fighting back tears and trying desperately to shut out the sounds of rush hour traffic closing in on me, I looked beseechingly at the faces of the drivers poised to enter the intersection. All I received in return were blank stares, giving me no indication of encouragement, or rescue. Time seemed to stand still. I felt hopeless. Abandoned. And terrified that I would fall flat on my face. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a firm hand grasped my arm and ushered me across the street. In our haste, I caught only a glimpse of the silent stranger—a man in a grey overcoat. Once we reached the sidewalk, I was filled with relief, and looked up to thank the kind man. But he had disappeared into the crowd.

I’m convinced that my Father in Heaven placed an angel in my life at that very moment. The man not only rescued me from the desperation of a quick snapshot in time. He also gave me courage to face the trials that have followed. I am constantly comforted by the knowledge that heavenly messengers do exist both in spirit and in body.

Next time you're talking to a neighbor or sitting next to a stranger on the bus look into their eyes. You may see their Divine potential. They may be an angel in disguise.

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