Day Nine: A Dozen Reasons
I don’t think, no matter how talented I am, or am not, that I could ever describe the beauty of this event. This event that lasted only a moment, but is forever burned into my memory, my heart.
It was 2013. I was sitting outside a crowded breakfast restaurant on a bench, waiting for it to be our turn to be seated inside. The place was packed, and people were standing and sitting all around us, also waiting their turns. The air was full of the scent of cigarettes, coffee, pancakes, and it flowed with the bits and pieces of conversation and excited chatter all around us.
I was in the middle of a crowd, with two friends who I had just attended church with, and yet I still felt lonely. I was worried about things going on in my life, and my grandfather had just passed away, and despite being with two friends, I felt an isolation that is hard to describe. I was trying to describe it, as I confided in my friends.
We sat there waiting for what seemed like an eternity, and we talked. Each of us was experiencing some sort of our own difficulty (much like everybody does at some point), and we were taking turns talking about it, the similarities and the differences. We talked of the church service, and of God. We talked and listened to each other, and to me, this was a little helpful in battling the weight of depression and loneliness that was hovering over me. I knew it was irrational, but at that point I was feeling as if I would never again feel joy.
I know that this is what depression does, it makes you feel as if you will never be happy again. I believe that depression is a tool that is used by the devil, to try to bring us away from our hopes, our dreams, our prayers, and our Lord. Isolation and depression can make it difficult to pray, and difficult to connect with God.
I was fighting this sadness though, as hard as I could. I was praying more than ever, clinging to God, and even visiting with friends when all I really wanted to do is was be home, under my covers, away from everyone and everything. So I talked, and it helped.
As we sat outside waiting, talking in the shade of a building on a busy summer morning, I remember feeling as if nothing would be better. One of the friends that was there with me, who’s heart was hurting for different reasons, seemed to feel the same way. Even through my self-pity, I remember just wanting to see her smile.
She has one of the most amazing smiles you have ever seen, beautiful, big, contagious. Her smile is strong enough to make others who don’t feel like smiling, smile. It’s a superpower. As I sit here typing away, I can picture her smile now, the tiny little gap in her front two teeth that makes her smile even more beautiful, and I am smiling while I imagine it. Oh, to have a smile like that! A smile that makes others smile, no matter what? It is a gift from God, and I don’t think she even knows it. Luckily, for the rest of the world, she uses this magic often, and is loved by many.
This day, I longed to see her smile, to see her feel like smiling.
I was sitting sandwiched between my two friends on a stone bench, and I turned to my once smiling friend who had seemed to run out of smiles, and with my knees touching hers, face to face now, I said, “I just need a hug. I need somebody to tell me everything is going to be okay.”
She knew exactly what I meant, I could see it on her face.
“I know. Me too.” She replied quietly.
“I need a hug,” I repeated. “From God.”
We all giggled a little at that, they seemed to know what I meant, that just not any hug would do, not even a hug from each other. I needed a hug from somebody who could fix a hurting heart completely, and to me, that person was God.
The next moment went by in a blur. I wish I could slow that moment down and relive it, over and over again, but it is now one of my precious faith and miracle memories. I tuck these memories away in a little sparkling box with a red bow, inside my head. When I feel down, I open the pretty box, and imagine light pouring out of it, like sunshine, bright and dazzling. I sort through those memories and relive them until I feel hope again, and then I tuck it away again for later. This miracle storage box is growing, and the magic of it is that the box is meant to keep growing, bigger and prettier, to hold more and more. We all need a magic story box in our minds, one that looks however we personally imagine it. All of us do, so we can forever remember our magical moments.
Out of the blue, after saying I needed a special type of hug, a God hug, there was a commotion in the crowd in front of us. The voice of a child rose above all the random conversation of strangers, echoed in the air repeatedly, and delightfully.
The crowd parted, and a child came running through, on sturdy, chubby legs, with golden hair and a round, beautiful, little-boy face. He was smiling from ear to ear, and in that moment I had time to recognize that people had stopped talking to each other, and were watching this toddler running full steam ahead. With amazement, I saw that everyone was smiling, this child just had that type of presence. A joyful presence.
He ran forward, as if he was on a mission, and he was shouting, “Hi! Hi! Hi!” Repeatedly, jubilantly. His enthusiasm while saying hi, was absolutely contagious, it’s as if he only had a moment to tell the whole world hello, and he was determined to accomplish it.
I watched this beautiful, happy, amazing child running and shouting, and my heart felt like it might explode with love for this little stranger. Nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.
I watched, in awe of him, as this baby boy ran right towards me, right to me, and launched himself straight into my arms. He was hugging me tightly around my neck, and I was hugging him right back.
He pulled his blonde head back, still hugging me, and looked up into my smiling face. “Hi!” He said again, just to me.
“Hi,” I said quietly, smiling and with wonder, and I gave him a little squeeze. I wanted to hold him forever, but I knew I couldn’t.
Satisfied, he scrambled off my lap, and took off through the crowd again, towards the entrance of the restaurant and inside with a few people following him. I never saw his mother, but there were people all around, everybody was smiling, and I was sure I just missed her in the mass of people around us.
I looked at my friends, who were grinning with happiness too. The moment, though brief, was just full of wonder. I was happy to see my friend had her superpower back, her contagious, beautiful smile. I felt better than I had in a long, long time.
A moment later, our party was called into the restaurant, and our table was ready. Any sooner and I would of missed that miniature little happiness maker. I’m so glad that I didn’t.
Inside, I scanned the entire restaurant, looking for him. I craved another glimpse of his precious little face, but I saw him nowhere. We sat down, and talked.
“That was the sweetest thing,” I said, and my friends agreed. We talked about other things, all happy things, and it was as if we had all been touched by the moment. My mind kept playing it over and over again, and my heart felt so full of love and hope.
Finally, I said what I had been thinking. “I think that little boy was an angel.” I said it quietly, seriously. I didn’t know what they would think. To me, he was an angel with a hug, right after I spoke of needing a hug from God. I felt as if that little boy brought me that hug, like a beautiful little messenger.
My friends looked at me, also quiet.
“Yes,” said one.
“Me too, Nay,” said the other, and then her face burst into that smile, that contagious one, that beautiful, magic smile of all smiles. And then, I smiled too.
I don’t know if that child was an angel or not. I feel like he was. No matter what, I believe he was sent by God. I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe in miracles.
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On a side note: I feel an overwhelming urge to share this right now. If anybody reading this is going through a period of depression, I encourage you to talk to somebody. Be it a friend, family member, a specialist, a pastor. Anyone. If you have no one you feel comfortable talking to, feel free to email me. I always respond, and I would enjoy nothing more than to talk to you. I’ve been there, through alcoholism, despair, loss, depression, anxiety, troubles, infertility, and financial difficulty. There is nothing out there that I would judge you for. We all need a listener, a friend. I will listen. I am a friend.
Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him.
For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.
Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.
“Why do you ask my name?” the angel of the Lord replied. “It is too wonderful for you to understand.”
“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”
Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?”