Tuesday, April 26, 2005

What if they are all angels?

A friend of mine told me this story today:

"His words echo in my consciousness. Even now - nearly 20 years later."

"You can learn something from every person you encounter in your life."

These were the words spoken by my 9th grade Latin teacher, Mr. Harker. It's unclear why his words have stuck with me all these years. After all, how much wisdom could come from one who spends his days teaching teenagers a dead language they'll never use?

Little did I know then. Thank you Mr. Harker.

"What if she's an angel," asks country music newcomer Tommy Shane Steiner in his poignant, debut song with the same title.

What If She's An Angel

There's a man standing on the corner
With a sign sayin "will work for food"
You know the man
You see him every morning
The one you never give your money to
You can sit there with your window rolled up
Wondering when the lights going to turn green
Never knowing what a couple more bucks
In his pocket might mean
What if he's an angel sent here from Heaven
And he's making certain that you're doing your best
To take the time to help one another
Brother are you going to pass that test
You can go on with your day to day
Trying to forget what you saw in his face
Knowing deep down it could have been his saving grace
What if he's an angel

There's a man
There's a woman
Living right above you in apartment G
There's alot of noise coming from the ceiling
And it don't sound like harmony
You can sit there with your TV turned up
While the words and his anger fly
Come tomorrow when you see her with her shades on
Can you look her in the eye
What if she's sent here from heaven
And she's making certain that you're doing your best
To take the time to help one another
Brother are you going to pass that test
You can go on with your day to day
Trying to forget what you saw in her face
Knowing deep down it could have been her saving grace
What if she's an angel

A little girl on daddy's lap
Hiding her disease with a baseball cap
You can turn the channel
Most people do
But what if you were sitting in her daddy's shoes
Maybe she's an angel
Sent here from Heaven
And she's making certain you're doing your best
To take the time to help one another
Brother are you going to pass that test
You can go on with your day to day
Trying to forget what you saw in her face
Knowing deep down it could have been her saving grace
What if she's an angel


I remember first hearing the song. It touched something very deep in me.

So deep, in fact, I can't find words to adequately describe the feeling that surfaced.

It's enough to say a tremendous wave of emotion washed over me, and I shed tears without really understanding why.

Almost 4 years ago, much of the world began a struggle to make sense of the events which took place on September 11.

Questions still remain, and the healing continues.

I recall the words of Reverend Billy Graham as he spoke at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. on September 14.

"We come together today to affirm our conviction that God cares for us, whatever our ethnic, religious or political background may be. "

"The Bible says that He's "the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles."

I also recall my tears, very soon after that speech, at the sight of a vulnerable, mourning people united around the world. Not so much being comforted by God but by one another.

Is there really any difference? Perhaps that's how God wants it.

What do one make of it all?

The words of a high school Latin teacher, a country music song, humanity united in mourning and a regular guy with a pretty good memory who seems to spend a bit of time crying.

When you put all the pieces of the puzzle together, what's the picture you see?

Let me help you out by making it more personal.

Think about your spouse or ex-spouse with whom you had a fight recently.

Think about your teenage child who seems to be out of control.

Think about your estranged sibling with whom you're constantly at odds.

Think about your parent who offered you a "less than enjoyable" childhood.

Think about the "slow-poke" driver who made you late for work the other day.

Think about your co-worker who makes your work life overly difficult.

Think about the terrorist bomber who strikes at the heart of a nation and your very way of life.

What can you learn from any or all these people in your life?

Have they shown up in your life to help you learn some new skill that would actually make your life better should you choose to accept the learning?

What if they're all angels sent from Heaven to help guide you along in your journey through life.

Or "making certain that we're doing our best to take the time to help one another."

What if they're all simply God.

Doing whatever it takes to re-unite a people divided by their own beliefs, boundaries and borders.

What if they're all angels?

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