01 October 2005

"Has anything ever happened to you...

... when after it was all said and done you knew it was God?" Gina Burgess posted her response to this question which she found over at Joe B's. What a great question. I am down-on-my-knees grateful that I have lots of possible responses, but I'll choose just one, for now.

Many years ago, I was in Minneapolis for a seminar for my work. The weather was nice, and I was getting stir crazy, so I asked the concierge at the hotel if it was safe to walk nearby. He gave a sort of guarded response, the tone of which I should have listened to, but I was young and needed a walk, so out I went.

It was fairly early in the morning, bright sunshine. I walked just a couple blocks south of the hotel, and turned left down a long block with the notion of going back up at the next light. Midway down the block was a bar - the kind with no windows. The door opened up and three large, seriously inebriated Native American males lurched out onto the sidewalk right in front of me. Now, at the time, I was in my 20s and reasonably fetching-looking in a sleeveless summer frock and sandals, and I had their immediate and full attention.

I really had nowhere to go but past them, so I moved to the outside of the sidewalk (thinking I'd step into the somewhat busy traffic if I had to) and proceeded to walk briskly by. No such luck. They started making encouraging noises in my direction. Since there were three of them, they were egging each other on a bit. I was beginning to feel considerable alarm, though I tried not to show it. I didn't want to try to run, because I felt instinctively they'd chase me, so I just walked fast. They walked behind me, calling to me. I started eyeing the traffic for a break.

Just then, a tall, handsome older gentleman with a full head of white hair fell into step beside me. I had no idea where he'd come from. He greeted me as though we were already acquainted, and walked quite close, though not touching. We chatted about the weather and I don't know what else. Behind us, my followers, muttering, gave up the chase.

That man and I walked for a block. He had a serene smile the whole time and never made reference to my entourage. The hotel was in sight at the next intersection. He said "Good-bye" just as the light changed. I turned to thank him, but he had vanished.

There wasn't a side street or a working door anywhere in the vicinity. The building beside us was boarded up.

It was my first conscious encounter with an angel.

1 comment:

Twyla said...

That was a wonderful story. Beautiful. It would have been lovely even without the mystery of his quick departure. Thanks for sharing.