To A Holiday Angel.Not long ago, I was standing in line at the bank with nothing else to do but wait. I watched quietly as one patron after another hurried in and out of their places in line.
Just ahead was a woman in - what appeared to be - her mid thirties, squeezing her deposit slip and other paperwork so intently that it was noticable, even there. Her hair was long but somewhat tangled, and her clothes were in slight disrepair. She was clearly upset or preoccupied with something other than her bank business, and it was clear that she felt uncomfortable.
Behind her, a well dressed man stood quite conspicuously several feet away (the kind of distance that relays a lack of respect more than thoughtlessness). The woman glanced several times over her shoulder. Struggled a smile to those who waited behind her. Then returned her focus to the papers she clenched in her hands. When the woman finally stepped up to the window, the teller's smile faded. He spoke with her professionally enough from what it appeared, but never made eye contact with her.
At that moment I wondered what the woman must have been feeling - was it worse to be noticed and judged by the well dressed man behind her? Was she cringing at the fact the teller refused to look at her? Or, had she (as a virtue of her life) come to accept the harsh reception she received from both ba
The well dressed man behind her shifted from one foot to the other, sighing to air his digust even further. Of the three of them, I silently congratulated her as being the one with the most character. After all, she didn't seem to be awestruck by either of their rude behavior. Instead, the ex
An hour later at the fuel station, the same woman pulled up in a van that had been beaten to the edge of its automotive life. I wouldn't have noticed her, except that when she stepped out I heard a cheerful voice call someone's name. Glancing up, I saw a vigorous red mitten waving at the woman above the pump. As her friend approached her, the two women hugged. I lowered my head and looked intently at the numbers whirling on the pump I was using.
"How are things going?" her friend asked loudly, but sincerely.
"With the cancer?" the woman replied. Before her friend could say another word, the woman said, "I'm tired most of the time. [he] left me. I guess he couldn't handle it when I lost my breast." I was floored.
I immediately went inside to pay for my fuel, feeling like a simple fool and trying my best to forget the well dressed man who stood conspicuously too far behind her. I struggled to ignore the image of the bank teller refusing eye contact with her. But most of all, I tried to forget the ex
When I arrived home that evening, I phoned my sister. I asked when she had seen her physician last, and goofily stumbled a reply to her question, "Why do you ask?"
"Because I care about you."
Now, the young lady at the bank and fuel station might never read this or know it's about her. Frankly, we both might be forgettable to the world. But, I wanted to take a moment to thank her for her courage in putting up with everything life handed her (honestly, for having the courage to face the world day after day.) I applaud her grace during what must be unspeakable lonliness. And, although she doesn't know me, I'll always remember her. True, the odds are slim, but if you're out there reading this: I might have brushed off Heaven's message the first time, but I heard it loud and clear the second. Thank you for being my holiday angel.