Do you believe in angels? I do. I always have. As a mom and manager, I like the idea that God, in his infinite wisdom, knows how to delegate work. The delegates of choice? Angels. That’s clear in the Bible. There are people whom we call angels, too.
Now I’m not talking about real angels, like Gabriel and Michael, but rather the concept of angels. For me, that means those people in my life who seem to providentially be there for me just when I need them. God-sent? Maybe.
And this past year has really solidified that belief for me. Here’s why.
At the writing of this column, I am two weeks away from running my very first half marathon. Now let me back up a bit and say, I am not a runner—never have been, don’t really want to be. I am almost 40, have multiple sclerosis, which affects my balance, have given birth to four kids and have an affinity for fountain Pepsi and junk food.
But last year when I started shots for my multiple sclerosis, I was in search of something to look forward to—and, quite frankly, distract me. I happened on the Walt Disney World website and saw an ad for the annual Princess Half Marathon, complete with pictures of all those “princess” runners in their fun costumes.
Hmm, I thought. I could do that. I mean, what is a half marathon—six, seven miles? (Note to kids: Pay attention in math class lest you end up in a situation like this.) I told my husband, Mark, how I had found the perfect goal for myself. He told me to go for it. So I did. It wasn’t until later, however, that I mentioned to him it was a half marathon.
“Do you know how long that is?” he asked. “Yeah, six, seven miles. I totally can do that.”
“Um, try 13.1,” he answered.
Feeling rather foolish and defeated, I sulked off to our room. Mark followed right behind me.
“I’ll do it with you. We’ll make a nice long weekend out of it,” he said. It was just what I needed to hear.
Suddenly this seemed doable.
Angels in Waiting
Fast-forward a few weeks and a few failed attempts at running. I was feeling defeated. Suddenly out of the blue, my friend Krista asked if I wanted a partner for working out. She was looking for someone to help keep her motivated. Once again, it was just the right message at just the right time. How did she know that?
Then one night when Krista was busy, I decided to walk by myself. Halfway through my walk I passed Mandy, whose son I had coached in soccer.
“Wanna run with me?”
“I’m not really a runner,” I said.
“Sure you are. Let’s give it a try.”
We proceeded to run—I’m sure at a much slower pace than her typical pace! But we ran. Mandy’s encouragement and patience were just what I needed to convince myself I could be a runner.
And then there was Julie, who shared her story of how she got into running and graciously fielded my never-ending questions about equipment, training, etc., as did my coworkers Chris and Jennifer, both actual runners, not pretend runners like me.
Add in my sister and parents, who often watched my kids so I could go run, and my best friend, June, and her husband, Mike, who didn’t hesitate to offer to watch our kids while Mark and I went to the race, and you have a whole bunch of angels who are watching over me.
I realize that I have encountered each angel at times that I have felt the most disheartened, the most unsure that I could do this. And it has always been the person who offers exactly what I need at that exact moment. Coincidence? I think not.
Perhaps you’ve heard the expression, “God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers.” I happen to think the same sentiment applies to the people who I call angels.
Be an Angel
Sometimes the littlest of things that we do make the biggest difference. I’m pretty sure that the people I mentioned in this column really had no idea that they were doing anything out of the ordinary by reaching out to me. But they did, and it made a huge difference.
For whom could you be an angel? Today, try to reach out in some small way to one person. Write a note telling someone what you like about him or her. Pay for the car’s order behind you in the drive-thru. Compliment someone on his or her outfit. Commend a co-worker for a job well done. Thank your spouse for something he or she did. Praise a child.
Hopefully, that person will then in turn reach out to someone else.