Have you ever met an angel? I’m sure you have. You may not have realized it at the time. They may have looked just like an EMT, an old friend, or even a priest. You see angels come in all shapes and sizes. The key to recognizing an angel is to note the fact that they always show up when you need to know God cares.

I had the honor of speaking before members and friends of the Spiritual Care Advisory Committee at the Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam, Conn., this week. I was given great latitude in my choice of topics by Rev. Jonathan Scott, a good friend and the current hospital chaplain. I titled my talk, “Touched by an Angel.”

The thought of spending a night in the hospital sends shivers down my spine. So imagine my horror when back in 2003 I flunked the stress test and was sent down to the emergency room to be admitted. I was scared but what followed was a remarkable journey that reinforced the fact that I was never alone.

I recognized the cardiologist right away when I showed up for my stress test. I knew him and was immediately put at ease by his presence. Imagine the odds? I went down to the emergency room to be admitted. I bumped into an old friend from church. We chatted. I prayed for him. All my anxiety disappeared. Was it a coincidence that he as there?

Sister Rita was passing through the ER. She stopped to pray with me. That afternoon Father Bob saw my name on the patient list and popped into my room to check on me. The most amazing coincidence of all was the fact that the EMT who helped transport me to Yale-New Haven was one of the dads I knew from my daughter’s dance troupe.

I admit that my experience was pretty blatant. Each of those angels (people) appeared just when I needed them to remind me that God had my back. The truth is that whether you see the angels or not, they are there. God sends people into our lives to minister to us in our most troubling moments. If we open our eyes we can see them.

You see, God never intended us to go through life alone. He created us to be in community with him and each other. Unfortunately sin created a rift between us and we suffer as the result of it. We often miss these grace moments that happen every day. We are blinded to the acts of love and kindness that God regularly sends our way.

So the next time you get stressed, I invite you to slow down. Open your eyes and look at the things that are happening right around you. Notice the waitress who comes up to you with a smile or the boy who holds the door for you. They may be an angel sent to brighten your day.

The same is true of the man in the coffee shop or the woman on the bus. Who knows where your angel will show up? God does, for he has sent them to remind you that he is with you.

The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Westerly.

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