It was 6:15am. I had recently divorced my first husband and thus was alone in a new apartment, hours from any family and rather isolated from friends. My youngest had his tonsils and adenoids removed a week earlier at the tender sweet age of three, he'd done so well. Opening that bedroom door to crimson blankets and his terrified face nearly stilled my heart. "Mama," he said, blood pouring from his mouth, I think I stopped breathing...
I'd just begun to see the man that would become my husband years later; but at that time we hadn't even officially been on a date. My fingers shook as I dialed his number....there was no one else to call. He canceled his day and was there in minutes, reassuring my other son that everything would be fine, he held his hand as they watched us leave for the hospital. For the next three days I lay in single railed bed, my body curled around my little boy's as he struggled to accept new blood and remake his own....and for three days a near stranger took care of everything else.
There have been moments in my life when such compassion has left me speechless. "Thank you" is the most inadequate phrase on the planet when your heart is awash with relief and gratitude. In every sense of the word, an angel touched my life.
Fast forward nearly a decade and having just moved into a new neighborhood. Last summer had me banging on my neighbor's door in my bathrobe at dawn, sobbing. I begged them to come watch the boys as the ambulance was on its way and I shook with fear at the thought of losing the love of my life. Twelve hours later I returned....and again, "thank you" wasn't nearly enough. I don't know what I would have done if it weren't for their kindness and that of another who came and took the boys to her home so I could return to my husband's side.
Yesterday I was the one that was honored to sit in the curtained cubicle as they took the vital signs of a woman I'd only met twice. Her husband has just finished his time with the marines and they moved here a few months ago to begin a new life. New job, new city. He arrived at the ER, having rushed from work and collected their eldest from school; we were told she would be taken by ambulance to another hospital.
As I set my purse on the table next to their front door, I assured him I'd find the peanut butter to make lunch. He quickly showed me the baby's room and set up the game system for the 7 yr-old. He thanked me with the same look I know had been on my face more than once, and left to to meet the ambulance holding his wife inside.
I didn't get my errands done, or the shopping--and I have never been so grateful for that. I made sandwiches and sliced bananas and played pattycake that left 'nana moosh on my fingers. After I laid the little guy down for a nap, I learned all about Lightening McQueen's race track and new paint job in the x-box game....even got handed the controller when I brought up a bowl of goldfish crackers for snack and was told to "accelerate more!"
In this world of unexpected agony, when a phone call can shift the axis of your earth....we need each other to be the hand of God. We have been trusted with this beautiful planet full of hearts and lives, each woven together to make the glorious tapestry that is humanity--and yet it seems daily we hear the stories of how we tear at one another. Murder and plunder and abuse. Perhaps almost the greater evil, indifference. It's not me. It happens.
When it is you...you will need your angel. Please seek out to be what you will one day need.
Together, we can change the world.