Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Who's An Angel?

At church the other day a man came up to our choir area after Mass and said to me, “You sing like an angel.”

That reminded me of another man who called me his angel. I first met “Bob” when his wife was in the hospital, just diagnosed with cancer, and he was terrified. In her room, he kept a running patter of positive comments and encouraging words, but later he came down to the Pastoral Services office and shared his deepest fears. I was humbled that he trusted me enough to be that open.

Bob and “Sherrry” weren’t strong religious people – I seemed to attract a lot of those kinds in my work, which was interesting. But they were deeply spiritual and very open to prayer. They just didn’t always do that in a church.

Over a period of several months, Sherry was in and out of the hospital for treatments and setbacks, but then they finally got the word that she was in remission. I was delighted. As much as I enjoyed ministering to and with them, I always hated it when patients came back.

Then one day I got a call in the office from a room upstairs. It was Bob. He had heard me say the Morning Prayer – I worked in a Lutheran Hospital where prayer was an important part of the treatment program. Bob said, “I heard that prayer and recognized the voice of our angel.”

I asked if Sherry was back in, but he said no. This time he was the patient, but it was nothing serious.

Over the next year, they would come by the Pastoral Services office when they were in for routine checkups, and when I resigned to move back to Texas, they came to my going-away party. I still have the plaque they gave me that says, “You are an Angel.” It is hanging here on my office wall and reminds me daily of the blessing they were in my life.

I do believe in angels, but I’m not so sure who was the angel here.

4 comments:

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Elaine Williams said...

Sometimes we have no idea how far reaching our kindness and impact has on others -- and yet other times we are told. :-) elaine

Maryann Miller said...

That is so true, Elaine. But an angel? Not me. :-) I am what is considered and irreverent chaplain.

What I think works for me in making a connection is that I am not afraid to meet people at their level, whatever that may be. But again, that is because of the Holy Spirit. It's not really me. :-)