Sunday, August 21, 2011

Today is Be an Angel Day

I’m not talking about a baseball team, or a motorcycle rider like the Hell's Angels, or a detective like one of Charlie's Angels.  An Angel is defined as a spiritual being, messenger of God.  Roles of angels include protecting and guiding human beings, and carrying out God's tasks.

Be An Angel Day was first celebrated on August 22, 1993.  It was created by Jayne Howard Feldman who claims that she was inspired by Angels to create this day.  The purpose is to be God's servant in doing good things for others. It is intended to do something nice or kind for someone who is in need of help. The type of angelic help you can offer is not defined or limited. It can be physical, emotional, or spiritual.

There can be many ways to be an angel for someone today.  Lending a helping hand to a friend or neighbor, calling to check on someone, if you like to bake, take cookies or a cake to a busy family.  Help a child with their schoolwork.  Help someone load their groceries in their car at the grocery store.  Visit someone in the hospital or nursing home.  Donate to a charity. The options are endless; just do something for someone else. 
I have been trying to research some stories about being an angel, but the ones I found were about actual angels.  If these stories interest you, check out these sites, they are very inspirational.

I wanted to share a story of a real person being an angel to me.   My first car was a 67 mustang.  It was a great little car, but occasionally gave me trouble because of its age.  It had been giving me trouble for a few weeks, and I had taken it to the shop to be fixed, and thought the problem had been solved.  I had to take a trip, 90 miles away, for a wedding.  I had to leave after work, which was about 9:30 at night.  I was driving on the Natchez Trace, which for those of you don't know about this road, it’s a long two lane road in the middle of the woods, which is not frequently traveled.   Well about half way into my trip my car dies, leaving me stranded in this dark lonely road in the middle of the night.  This was before cell phones, so I was just stuck.  I put my flashers on, but the occasional car just drove right past me.  After an hour I decided I would just stand out in the middle of the road, forcing someone to stop to help me.  Luckily, the next car to come along stopped, and did not run over me,.  There were actually two cars traveling together, two sons, their families and their parents.  Not only did they  not run over me, they stopped to help me, they fixed my car, then stopped to call my family to let them know what had happened and that I was back on my way.  That was 30 years ago, and I have never forgotten it.

A little kindness can make a big impact on someone when you least expect it.  That reminds me of this story:

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, "Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd."

I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friend’s tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on. As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him.
They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed him his glasses, I said, "Those guys are jerks.”

“They really should get lives.”

“He looked at me and said, "Hey thanks!"

There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends He said yes.

We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him. Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, "Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books every day! He just laughed and handed me half the books. Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors we began to think about college.
Kyle decided on Georgetown and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor and I was going for business on a football scholarship.

Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him.
Boy, sometimes I was jealous! Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, "Hey, big guy, you'll be great!"

He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. “Thanks," he said.
As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began "Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach...but mostly your friends...

I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story."

I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. "Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable." I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize its depth.
Never underestimate the power of your actions.
With one small gesture you can change a person's life.

For better or for worse.
God puts us all in each other’s lives to impact one another in some way.
Look for God in others.
So, today, on Be an Angel day, it doesn't matter what you do, just show some kindness to someone else.

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