Angels Among Us

Lately, in contemplating random acts of kindness, I have been considering how all of us earth-bound humans can behave more like angels to one another, if we so choose. I am reminded of the letter of Saint Paul to the Hebrews: “Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” ~Hebrews 13:1-2

angelAll God’s angels come to us disguised.  ~James Russell Lowell


I wrote an article called Just A Smile, which is about a person who might have been an angel in disguise. When I consider the powerful effect her genuine smile had on me that bleak, sad day, I often wonder if she might have been more than she appeared. My heavy heart was suddenly brightened and effortlessly lifted. In an instant, I actually felt stronger from someone’s warm eye contact and big smile generously given for me.

Angels descending, bring from above,
 Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
 ~Fanny J. Crosby

It has been suggested in some schools-of-thought that when we read, discuss, or learn something new and profound, the goose-bumps we feel along our arms, back, scalp or shoulders that can happen is evidence of our guardian angels brushing us with their wings, urging us to pay attention and notice that this is something important.

Another popular idea is that heeding our hunches, gut-instincts, or intuition is a process of becoming sensitive to the urgings from our angels. And the more we pay attention to and act upon our hunches, the more strength we give to them and the more frequently these moments of intuition will arise.

I believe we are free, within limits, and yet there is an unseen hand, a guiding angel, that somehow, like a submerged propeller, drives us on.  ~Rabindranath Tagore 

(May 7, 1861 – Aug 7, 1941)

Make yourself familiar with the angels, and behold them frequently in spirit; for, without being seen, they are present with you.  ~Saint Francis de Sales (Aug 21, 1567 – Dec 28, 1622)

Homeless man guardian angelThe idea of angels travelling with us, guiding us, guarding us, is an incredibly beautiful and comforting thought. When I consider how much time I spent away from home as a young child playing in the woods, like a forest nymph travelling alone, I know I am lucky that nothing bad happened to me. Why did I never fall from a tree or break a leg with a slip? Why was I able to remain hidden from the eyes of strangers travelling those dark shaded paths? And in my older years when I did cross paths with some dangerous people, how did I escape unscathed? I know agnostics would call it chance or luck. But what if I really do have very hard-working guardian angels with me, helping events unfold for the best?

I am more troubled with this concept as I get older because of the terrible events that happen to people. Like debris falling from jets overhead, being collateral damage in a shooting, a woman killed as she waited for a board meeting to begin as a car flew through the wall, and so many accidents that make me wonder: if we have guardian angels, where were they for those people?

Such is the inner life that a spiritual philosopher like me lives with.

There are always so many questions and theories to ponder, back and forth. And then I wonder, perhaps people pulled from life in ways that seem before their time are needed for their love, their strong spirit, in a place beyond what we can even begin to comprehend. A place we may call Heaven. If I am to believe that there are angels, then I must also consider the thought that angels are sometimes ‘needed’ and people whose lives are cut short may be indeed called to a ‘higher occupation’ if you will.

Many believe that there are angels everywhere, and I admit to having an ornament of an angel in every room of my house, and even in my garden.

blades of grass

Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, grow, grow. ~The Talmud

Yet again, as I ponder this concept of angels among us, I keep coming back to wonder if I may be over romanticizing it all. With my own experience of a possible angel, she certainly looked like a regular woman (even if she wasn’t in a suit like most of us were) who just so happened to be walking the opposite direction as me. And for whatever reason, amongst all that pedestrian traffic, she noticed how weary I appeared and she was warmly smiling at me before I even raised my eyes from the sidewalk.

There really is no reason to assume that an ordinary person cannot offer such selfless kindness to another, on a whim. I like the expression of “Earth Angel” to describe a regular human who offers their kindnesses consistently and selflessly. So whether I do or don’t believe in angels among us, I know that we can behave kindly towards each other and behave like angels on earth.

We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another.  ~Luciano de Crescenzo

I believe that we can all behave like guardian angels for each other. A first step is to be sure to fill our hearts with love. Focus on our blessings. Feel kindness towards our own self first. Let’s acknowledge how loved we truly are by this loving Universe, by God. Please know that you are important and meant to be here, and allow gratitude and love to fill your heart to the brim, and beyond. In this way our inner well of well-being, our feelings of love, can overflow into the hearts of others because we ourselves are overflowing with love.

Just A Smile

Simple kindness is something I genuinely enjoy offering to others, and welcome it warmly. It is more magical and healing than we often admit. Even just a smile or kind word cause ripples out into the world, helping more than we know.

I will always remember a moment that happened one morning about 12 years ago as I faced another day at a horrible job. I trudged along, head down, my smile gone. As a financially strapped single mom, all I could do was pray every morning for the strength to endure and send out resumes every evening, like messages in a bottle thrown into the sea.

Nature is always my solace, so in the concrete jungle I look for trees and birds as I walk. The sidewalk was sloping down as it headed under the railway and I looked up to see if pigeons might be roosting and quietly cooing to each other in the rafters. As I wearily raised my head I saw a woman looking at me with a smile of pure sweetness. Bright teeth flashing at me in that dark depressing morning. Instinctively a smile slowly grew on my face to return the favor but she was already gone. Passed swiftly by me, leaving a lingering moment of kindness like a ray of sunshine piercing the gray. I felt touched, noticed by another person amongst all the pedestrian traffic, trudging along. She was like an angel, to know how much I needed that smile, but didn’t even know it myself. My spirits immediately lifted and I remembered the Truth: this hardship was temporary and I would get a better job.

The generous kindness of a stranger, giving me one of her smiles when mine were all gone, changed my world that day and will be remembered forever.