Angels Among Us

“I knew she was already gone, but I was holding her in my arms, secretly hoping I was wrong. But I knew I wasn’t.”

“I was 16 and she was like a sister to me, lying limp in my arms with no breath.” 

“I don’t really remember a lot about what else happened that night. But I knew that life as I once knew it was over. And it was.”

I was sitting with my hand on the shoulder of this young man as he shared his story while the tears he was struggling to choke back flowed down his face. 

Only his wife, and a few more people had ever heard the story. I’m not sure exactly why he chose to share it with me that day, but I was honored, and knew I was on “holy Ground“ with him. 

I don’t mean ”holy ground” in a religious way.  I use those words to refer to “the moment in time when someone decides to disclose something they’ve held within them, closely guarded, for many years.”

He did confess that was the most he could remember for weeks was lying in bed. Looking back, he knows he was likely severely depressed. Lying there, trying to reconcile something in his mind and heart that no 16 year old is equipped to process. And like so many of these cases, no one knew that he needed help processing through it. And no one knew he desperately needed to hear them say some things, that were never said. Like: “It wasn’t your fault.” And “Everything’s going to be okay.”

As he poured out his heart, along with pent up emotion, I knew I was witnessing what Alabama sings: “I believe there are angels among us!” Had angels not intervened in his life, he would still be in bed In that little country town, going absolutely nowhere fast. Depressed, withdrawn, and likely alcoholic.

Instead, he has a gorgeous (and very gifted and talented) wife, and a beautiful family. He owns several very successful businesses and has a smile and laugh that lights up every place he is present. 

Yes, I believe there are angels among us. If you’ve not heard Alabama’s song with that title, or even if you have, click this link and watch the video. 

Here are the lyrics:

I was walking home from school on a cold winter day
Took a shortcut through the woods and I lost my way
It was getting late and I was scared and alone
Then a kind old man took my hand and led me home
Mama couldn’t see him though he was standing there
But I knew in my heart he was the answer to my prayer
Oh, I believe there are angels among us
Sent down to us from somewhere up above
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love
When life held troubled times and had me down on my knees
There’s always been someone to come along and comfort me
A kind word from a stranger to lend a helping hand
A phone call from a friend, just to say they understand
Now it ain’t kind of funny at the dark end of the road
Someone lights the way with just a single ray of hope
Oh, I believe there are angels among us
Sent down to us from somewhere up above
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love
They wear so many faces, show up in the strangest places
To grace us with their mercy in our time of need
Oh, I believe there are angels among us
Sent down to us from somewhere up above
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love

I know you’ve had one of those moments in life when you knew without a doubt that there are angels among us.

I have been so extremely blessed throughout my life to know without any doubt whatsoever that there were angels among us.

My Mother was known as an angel here on earth, And I knew through many incidents throughout my life that was the absolute truth!

I have had two long-term and amazing business administrators In my career. Deb (my Sis) and Denise (my “Gangsta”). To this day, they both have a text tone and ringtone that is part of Alabama‘s song, “Angels Among Us.” They have served faithfully, and stood right by my side, supporting me, blessing me, And putting up with me!

Although I am aware of angels on my path almost daily, several years ago I had an experience where I was reminded just how powerful it is to have Angels Among Us.

I had run up the stairs in the student center at my church. The lights are in the middle of the mezzanine up there, so I had the person helping me carry the toys donated for our annual Christmas Extravaganza wait for me at the bottom until I got the lights on.

In the dark, I didn’t realize I had stepped with great momentum onto some stacked plastic chair mats, meant for carpet, lying on the polished concrete floor at the top of the stairs. I sailed across the floor in the dark about 20 feet, until the mats hit a wall and sent me flying . I flipped in the air and landed on my right side. 

I was surrounded by angels within moments. Tom was trying to help me get up so he could take me to the hospital. Bryce was calling 911. Tracy was holding my head and trying to soothe my screams. My pastor, Kendall Bridges, knelt down beside me praying.

The next angel to arrive was Brian. He was the EMT who kept his face about 6 inches from mine trying to assure me as they hooked me up to IVs and begin to pump massive amounts of pain medicines into my body. Nothing touched the excruciating pain. Brian kept talking to me, trying to keep me conscious, as he talked to headquarters to get permission to use an anesthetic drug. All the while assuring me that he was going to get me help.

I kept staring at him trying to hear his words above the uncontrollable screams, and to believe his reassurance. Although I couldn’t stop the screams, his calmness was that of an angel. (And yes, I went back months later to see him and thank him).

The next angel on the scene was my dear friend Lisa, who stood by my side, and tried to help all of the radiologist staff understand that I was severely injured. They were asking me to do things that were physically impossible. Like raise an arm that we later discovered was totally crushed, with ruptured muscles and tendons, only held together by skin.

The next angel was my niece, Kimberly, who arrived as soon as she could when she heard the news. She sat with me all night as I screamed in pain. Until the early morning hours when two orthopedic surgeons stood at the foot of my bed, saying that my arm could not be fixed. They were deciding whether to put a straight rod or a bent rod in it.

They mentioned that there was only one doctor in a five state region that could fix my arm. One of them said, “There’s just no way we can get her into Schacherer.“ I eeked out the words, between moans and sobs to say, “That’s my doctor!“ 

My niece, Kimberly, my angel at the moment, retrieved my cell phone and called Dr. Schacherer. She came to the side of my bed as the surgeons ignored me and commented that I was just fuzzy headed due to the morphine. She handed me my phone and said “It’s Dr. Schacherer and he wants to speak to you.“ The surgeons were in shock with dropped jaws. I was in pure gratitude when he said, “Get here as soon as you can! We will fix that arm arm!“

The only thing that got me through the excruciatingly painful trip there, was the hope that he truly could fix my arm, and that I would not have a rod for an arm for the rest of my life. As they wheeled me in, he came alongside me with a smile and told me he was going to fix me up. He looked at the film and shook his head, and I heard him say to his staff: “This will be an all nighter.”

It was late in the evening by the time he took me into surgery. It took him all night to dig the shattered bone out of my muscles and tendons, and to put a child’s titanium elbow in my arm, and wire and screw my shoulder blade back together.

In the wee hours of the morning, he began the outline for me all that he had to do. I listened intently trying to understand it all, and finally had the chance to ask, “Will my arm work again?“ He patted me on my good shoulder, and leaned down and said, “I believe it will be OK with time if we were able to get you the right therapy. But if it had been just two more inches, it would have been your head and your brain that were crushed. And I couldn’t have fixed that. There were clearly angels attending you.“

I never doubted there were angels among us, but I believe even more strongly since that point. 

Often those angels are people we know. Sometimes they are people we never know. Sometimes we never even see them. But they are there.

As recently as May 19 of this year, I received a message that would change my life forever. Earlier that very day, I had listened to an inspiring message from Joel Osteen. He had said, “ Just one five-word text from you could change someone’s life.“ I went through the day thinking: “Who I could send a text to?” I sent several. But I wasn’t expecting to receive one myself. Yet there it was. It popped up on my screen at 10:23 PM as I was walking on the golf course. It was life changing.

So here’s my challenge to you today: Who needs for you to be an angel to them? What five word text could you send? What smile could you give? Who needs your hug that would be like a hug from an angel?

Would it would it be like if we all agreed to do something as an “Angel“ to at least five people daily? We might not always hit the mark, but don’t you think it might make a huge difference?

I don’t know who the angels were in the young man’s life that I was talking with. He may not know. But clearly, somewhere along the way, someone’s encouraging words, someone’s belief in him, pulled him out of a dark pit, and helped him believe who he could become.

I truly believe that one of his angels was the beautiful young woman he met in a business office at a very low point in his life that later became his wife.

After listening to his heart-wrenching story, I asked him if he would trust me. He nodded, although he had only met me the day before. I asked him to close his eyes, and take his wife’s hand. We walked back through that event, and we all cried. I asked him if he could go to the scene of that accident and say one thing to that 16 year old who was holding his limp family member, what would he say to that 16 year old?

As tears streamed, he choked out, “I would tell him that everything was going to be OK, and it wasn’t his fault.”

He said it with such tenderness and compassion, I knew at that moment I was in the presence of an angel. You would ever believe a tall, buff, confident young man would be an angel. But what I heard was the voice and the words of an angel. Yes, there was an angel among us, and it was him.

I believe there are angels among us. I believe that you and I are two of those angels. What if hundreds of us read this, and committed to try to be an angel in small ways to at least five people daily? What difference would it make? I believe the difference would be tangible in our homes, our offices, our communities … in a very short amount of time. 

Someone needs a five word text from you today. Someone needs a hug. Someone needs a smile. Will you be an angel among us?