Tumbling in the Sand
She called me an angel
sent by God.
“I know some people who have other opinions,” I thought to myself
Because, well, I do
And because well, I have that voice in my head
And because well, I’m just human.
I was just filling her tank with gas.
I just wanted to help.
It seemed like she needed it.
And it was one thing I could actually do.
She’d only asked for two dollars.
I’d had a ten on me, which I gave her and then saw her
pull up her big old van
to the pump and thought
that wasn’t going to go far on two dollars
let alone ten
and so I called to her from my car
“Let me fill your tank for you.”
And she was so grateful.
There were tears in her eyes
as if I’d taken a huge weight off her shoulders
and she could breathe for the first time
in a long time
“Just put $10 in … that’s more than enough.”
and I just kept distracting her as the pump rang up the cost
“Oh my God, thank you.”
I wanted to hear her story.
God, some people really get all the pain of the world
Sister murdered six years ago
(I imagine she could tell me how many days ago, too).
Mom just died of dementia and age
Family figuring things out.
She was so grateful.
“I get paid tomorrow. You didn’t have to do this.”
“Would you have filled your tank with that check?
“No … I would have bought food for Christmas …”
“Well, then. Merry Christmas.”
She was so, so grateful.
It broke my heart.
It made my Christmas.
I, who was not feeling particularly Christmassy
Just tired and moody and wondering what was missing
God, I wish I could have really been an angel for her.
To proclaim like ones in the Bible
“Fear not! For to you is born a Savior.”
Someone who really can save you.
Someone who really can heal all the shattered parts.
God is with you.
God is with you.
With you in your desperation
and your sadness
and your every-day-struggling-to-just-get-by life
Fear not. You are not alone.
In the darkness
visions dance in peoples’ minds,
stars call wise ones to long journeys
… babies are born
dreams and life and hope
begin in the dark
And also in grey, ordinary moments,
like pumping gas,
Because they become moments
to encounter angels
like the one I met
who reminded me
of what is truly holy.