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Hidden Angels

Tucked in the spire and in nooks all around the Cologne Cathedral walls are angels. Divine beings carved in stone, they watch over each congregant, each visitor, each believer, each sceptic with prayers of silent wonder. Inanimate? Hardly. The pulses of their energies radiate from the shadows with the love of their creator-artisans.

In recent years I have been much aware of angels. Some take the form of earthly friends whose constant presence in my life is divine love. Some are more the "entertaining angels unawares" kind - unexpected and startling. I share just two stories.

In 2000 my husband was desperately ill; his red blood cells were being destroyed by his own body faster than he could make them with a rare disease called autoimmune hemolytic anemia. I had left him in the hospital the night before to go home and sleep, not realizing the process in his body was escalating. Around 5:00 in the morning I awoke in a panic, sensing that something had gone terribly wrong. When I called his room his slurred and non-sensical words gave substance to my terror and I understood for the first time – though not the last - that blood does, indeed, run cold as my veins pulsed with an internal coldness.

The nurse assigned to Bob that morning was calmness to my fear. She was supportive, but honest about the catastrophic nature of his condition – he was dying and quickly.

Details of the miracles that occurred may be told another time. But for now just know that against medical odds that included usually unsurvivable low red blood counts and multiple pulmonary emboli, Bob did live (for fourteen wonderful years). A few weeks later I went back to the floor where Bob had begun this medical odyssey to thank that nurse for her straightforward words and caring love that had enabled me to become serene despite my cold, shaking fear. No one had ever heard of her. I knew several of the other nurses from our days there and they all told me the same thing – a nurse by that name had never been on that floor. Ever.

Fast forward fifteen years. the autoimmune response returned and Bob did pass over. My heart broke into millions of pieces. Tasks at my house overwhelmed me as one thing after another seemed to need attention. I was still working a fast-paced job with intense expectations and had no time to take off for anyone to come and fix things. But when my cable connection failed I had to get it repaired immediately. I worked nights and weekends from home and required internet connection.

On a cold winter morning the young man appeared from the cable/internet service provider. I so wish I had taken a surreptitious photo; with his reddish brown beard and a quirky knit cap he looked incredibly like Bob in his 20s at about the age when I first met him. I explained the issues and he began searching for solutions around the house. The cables all converged in the basement. As he began checking the connections one of the cables slipped out of his hands and he murmured quite distintly, “C’m ‘ere Roscoe” as he grabbed for it.

Startled tears and an involuntary sob shuddered through my body. Have you ever heard anyone else use those words – come here Roscoe - when working on a project and something slips out of hand? I had heard them many times come from Bob’s mouth as a nut or bolt rolled away or a cable flipped from his grasp. It wasn't just the words themselves, odd as they were, it was the inflection, the tone. The only other person I have ever known to say those words was Bob’s beloved Grandpa – from whom he had been taught to love electronics. Bob, you see, was a computer expert who understood all things electronic and usually repaired them without the need of a repair service. Quickly I excused myself and left him to his work so that I could cry unseen. When the repair was done and the connection once again worked, the young man left. But he wrote down his cell phone number in case something wasn’t completely right. The next day, I had another issue so I called the number. It was not a working number. Now maybe he gave me wrong number. Maybe I wrote it down incorrectly. Or maybe…

Angels. They appear with God's blessings just as we need them. I believe signs are here in each of our lives to give us hope, to light a path, to rekindle joy. It is our openness to miracles that enables us to see. It doesn’t require a crisis (though often that is what it takes to get my attention). Miracles take only that tiniest grain of belief. Believing is seeing.

Angels ~ watching over me ~ and you.

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