Tag Archive | guardian angels

A Touch of Beauty Through the Dead of Winter

January 2012 008It snowed last night. Probably just an inch or two. I’m looking out my window and enjoying the scene before I have to deal with slippery roads and temperatures that chill me down to my liver. This morning the few flakes that fell last night gave a confectionery dusting over the sleepy tree limbs and bushes. It’s truly a pretty sight.

As I enjoy the winter scene as I write these lines, something in the distance draws my attention through the winter scene. I’m watching an American flag waving in the distance in a cold and lonely cemetery.  The red, white and blue gently floating in a light breeze has unknowingly drawn my attention through the snow-covered limbs and otherwise dead winter scene. (If you look REAL hard, you’ll see it in the middle of the frame.)

As I watch the flag, I’m thinking that some people are like that flag. In their quiet way, they can’t help draw attention to themselves just because they are so beautiful. I’m not talking about physical beauty. Yeah let’s face it, some of the most beautiful faces are true beasts under the make-up!  What I’m talking about is a quiet beauty in caring eyes and gentle voices. Maybe its a sense of humor that makes you smile on really bad days. Their mere  presence makes a difference, probably because you sense their strength that lies beneath.  They are everyday heroes going on about their lives, unknowingly touching others in profound ways.

Whatever quality they possess,  you know immediately it’s special. You want to put that person in your life. And once they are there, you never want to let them go. Like that flag, they bring a touch of beauty into an otherwise dreary existence.  We are all lucky they walk the earth.

Walking Through Tragedy

Troubled Waters by McCloskey

Troubled Waters by McCloskey

When tragedy strikes, the shock changes you. You can’t help but feel “why me?” You wonder why things didn’t go the way you had planned. We all go through it at sometime during our lives. To some a tragedy strikes at a young age. For others, it might take until you’re 20 or 30 years old. For still others, it waits until you’re almost old enough to retire.

My brother John is going through such a personal shock right now. He’s sailed through his life with little conflict. He has an Ivy League education. He’s done important research in his job. He’s never suffered unemployment. He’s never been seriously sick. He’s enjoyed a long happy marriage. He’s watched his three children grow up and find happy, successful lives. But just recently he felt the first, true, personal earthquake. His wife of over 30 years was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. I can imagine what the words of the diagnosis did to both him. I’ve been there.

I’m sure my brother will keep his heartbreak inside. I’m sure he is a rock for Wendy. I’m sure he’ll support her, no matter what she has to face.  I’m sure he might be scared that this disease has the possibility of separating them forever. He’ll cry in private.  He’ll never speak of  his impotency to change the situation. After all, there are no words. I’ve been there.

But I also know John and Wendy are surrounded by close friends who want to help. Living in California, so far away from their blood relatives, they have acquired a new family through their church activities. These people will be their saving grace. The right people will step forward and walk the journey with them. They will get what they need at the time they need it. God will see to it. And whatever is needed will be fulfilled by another person. I know.  I’ve been there.

So even though I can’t be with my dear brother and my sister-in-law because of the vast distance that separates us, I know in my heart that they will be all right. I know that no matter what happens, life will go on. The sun will come up every morning and set every evening. They will learn to take a day at a time and enjoy what they can together. They’ll probably cry in each other’s arms, but I also know they will find a way to laugh again. They will strengthen each other. I’ve been there.

Watching a spouse deal with surgery, life-threaten complications of that surgery, and the devastating effects of chemotherapy is a tough road. Ken and I were lucky to have come out of the positive side of this journey over 10 years ago. And now, I pray for that same miracle for Wendy and for John who is standing by.

If you have a minute, send a prayer my brother’s way. Okay?

John and Wendy

John and Wendy

Giving is Forever

Santa and childrenI can remember when I was a child WAITING for the night that Santa Claus would bring me the gift that I had been dreaming about all year — or at least since my birthday in July. Yes, it was a magical time for a little girl. A time that all children should have a chance to experience. Even the fact that Santa NEVER brought me a Lionel train set could be overlooked because he did bring me ice skates.

The sad fact is, this miracle of an elf coming in the night to shower presents on eager children with big dreams isn’t worldwide. There are children who go to bed hungry on Christmas Eve and most of us don’t even give them a second thought. There are poor children living on our city streets with their mothers, who would just be thankful for one safe night in a warm comfy bed. Other children wish for enough food to fill their extended tummies. Orphanages are filled with children who just wish someone would love them. In still other places, girls dream to have an education.  Wouldn’t it be great if the Jolly Ol’ Elf could grant these children their Christmas wishes?

I’m always excited when God touches the lives of people who are like Santa. Like Oprah who started a school in Africa, like Bono who contributes to 32 charities to fight poverty and hunger. Angelina Jolie is the Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR. She and Brad Pitt also founded the Jolie-Pitt Foundation to fight poverty in rural areas. Then there’s George Clooney who made the world open its eyes to the genocide going on in Darfur. This list of Celebrity Santas goes on, too. Bill and Melinda Gates have created a foundation to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty worldwide, while in America, it expands educational opportunities and access to information technology.  Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Ellen DeGeneres, Scarlett Johnansson, Justin Timerlake and many others. They all have given their famous names and a lot of their money to make the world better.

So, what can we do? After all most of us don’t have enough money to do such grandiose gestures. How can we make a difference?

It’s easy. Let God touch your heart and find out. Then listen and wait. Before too long, you’ll feel a tug at your heart that won’t leave you alone. Don’t ignore it because this is what you’ve been waiting for. It’s your way to be Santa any time of the year.

Santa Clause Came to Town

Postman SantaYesterday when Ken went to gather the mail, there was a mysterious card in amongst the bills. It was a Hallmark card from Santa!

I’m a pretty good sleuth when it comes to recognizing handwriting, but this card left me stumped. Even the postmark wasn’t helpful because most of the mail which is sent from Racine goes through the larger Milwaukee Post Office.

When we opened the card, out fell a gift certificate for $200! Ken and I were both were humbled with the generosity someone had shown to us, but as the receiver of such a wonderful gift, we have the natural desire to say, “Thank You,” to the giver.  On top of that, this isn’t the first time we’ve had this dilemma. For the last three years, “Santa” has been sending us such gifts.

It’s truly a shame that children MUST learn at a certain age that Santa is only a figment of a parent’s imagination, isn’t it? When in fact, I know that he lives on in the hearts of generous people and every once in a while, he makes a personal appearance.

Thank you, Santa. I believe.

Was I Touched by an Angel?

I just read a “near death” encounter from another blogger I follow. She’s a terrific writer, and I enjoy her daily posts. At the end of her piece today, she asked if any of us in “Internet-land” ever had a strange experience. I can’t say that I have had a near death experience, but I do know that I have met my Guardian Angel. For those of you who don’t believe such an entity exists, you might want to go on to your other daily tasks.

My guardian angel came to me when I was going through an ugly divorce. She came in the form of a gregarious Jewish woman with flaming read hair who talked with gestures like an Italian lady. She befriended me out of the clear blue sky, and we hit it off right away. Her “cover” was a business owner in Miami.  This woman was generous, thoughtful, insightful but mostly just a fun person to count among my friends.

But there were strange things about her, too. She never invited me to her home; instead she’d put me up in a hotel. She had this innate sense to know when I needed her and would call to check on me. She was kind, but she also gave me tough love. The last time I saw her, she yelled at me to o stop running from my problems and go HOME to fix them, (I wanted to run away to Miami to start over.)

I’m happy to tell you, I took her advice and went home to fix things with my daughters and started to build a new life. The reason I think Shelly was an angel was because after the divorce was final, I called her to thank her for everything she did for me.  I called her business because that was where she spent most of her time. When an unfamiliar voice answered the phone, I asked to speak to Shelley. The strange voice said, “There is no one here by that name. You must have the wrong number.”

I know that I didn’t have the wrong number because I had called Shelley at least a dozen times at the number I dialed. So, I dialed again thinking I must have mis-dialed the first time, only to get the same person on the other end of the line, saying, “I told you when you called before, there is no Shelley here. We’ve never had a Shelley on our staff.”

I blurted out, “But she owns the business!”

The voice replied, “You have been misinformed, ma’am.” Then I heard the sound of the receiver hanging up on me. I never heard or saw Shelley again.

Make of it what you will, but I believe I was sent a Guardian Angel to help me see through this very hurtful time in my life. She kept me from making a tremendous mistake, never judged me for anything I had done wrong, and was always a constant positive resource for me. And when I didn’t need her any more, she must have been reassigned to another “client” who needed her expert help.

I’m just glad, whoever or whatever she was, that she was reached out to me.