Friday, June 7, 2013

Angels Among Us

Microsoft clipart
Have you ever spoken with a fireman, or someone who places their life on the line for the protection of others?  It might be tempting to assume they receive an adrenalin thrill or ego boost when they're out on the job, but if you dig a bit deeper, I suspect you'd find a more noble motivation is really in their hearts. 

Several months ago, I had a conversation with a volunteer fireman. Somehow in the midst of our random gab we fell into the topic of religion. He happened to mention he was "religious", without providing me a more specific definition. That was all right; I didn't feel compelled to probe. 

I told him that church and religion have always swirled all through my life, and yet sometimes I still struggled to find God, to make him real. 

He simply replied, "Get in a fire someday, you'll figure it out."

I wanted to hear more. "How so?" I asked.

"It's God in you," he replied. "Angels help you find your way out when you're in the fire."

I grew silent, thinking about his words. "How do you know it's angels and not just your wits and skills leading you out?" I finally asked.

He hedged. "You wouldn't believe me. I swear I have seen angels."

I'd like to believe there are angels among us. I want to believe that. I've seen goodness in people, certainly, but, honestly, never an angel. "What do they look like?" I wanted to know.

"All good things," he responded. "No face, you just feel the goodness in them. The love. It's amazing."

My doubt nagged at me, and I searched to find a logical explanation, but, really, who was I to question his experience? Perhaps when he was in the fear and inferno of a burning building, when the heat feels like hell itself, and smoke obscures up from down and right from left, he truly is guided by angels. I have no reason to doubt his experience. Maybe he sees them because he has to look for them. He needs them. 

Maybe I don't see angels because I don't look for them. I don't think I need to see an angel. I think I already know right from left and up from down. Or maybe it's just that my building hasn't burned hot enough. 

As we drifted off to other subjects, I kept thinking about his angels. Safe skepticism still nagged in my brain, but I didn't voice my questions. I hoped he'd continued to see his angels and that they'd keep on guiding and protecting him each time he was out being a hero fighting fires or rescuing people. 

And I hoped, someday, I would see one too. But his words carried a bit of a warning, or perhaps a challenge about finding that angel: Get in a fire someday; you'll figure it out.

33 comments:

  1. I have never seen an angel but I have close friends that see them often. My son almost drown when he was about 7 and he says he saw an angel help him get out of the water. So I believe they are real but have never experienced it for myself.

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    1. Susie, my husband tells about a time he was in a van with a few other people and riding over Monarch Pass, a particularly treacherous road when the snow conditions are unfavorable. He says they started to slide towards the edge and just did a "help us, God" type of prayer and the van came to a very sudden, almost jarring, halt. I wish I was more believing, but then I can't help wondering about all the people who also plead or need angels, and they don't see them. Augh-- I really hate that I'm so skeptical sometimes.

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  2. I think many of us have to go through some sort of refiner's fire to find Him. Though not literally a fire it is in those difficult moments that he helps us see through the smoke. I love the insight this man has and shared. He is truly courageous.

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    1. Yeah kind of gives you pause for thought, doesn't it.

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  3. I have heard stories about angels before. Maybe I should be grateful I've never been in peril enough to see one?

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    1. That's kind of what I was thinking, Annalisa!

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  4. Good questions. But I'll leave it at that :)

    I will say this - anyone who goes through the hell of wondering if they get to see their kids again, all experience something different.

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    1. Yeah I think you're right-- it's all different experiences. But I liked his story.

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  5. Knowing Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior has made a great difference in my life. There have been incidents in my life that I know were angelic - car accident, near misses, things like that. The Bible has a great deal to say about them. God's Word is truth.

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    1. Hi Mary Ann-- that may have been where he was coming from too. We didn't dig that much into the specifics. Sounds like you have a solid hope! :)

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  6. Very interesting post, Julie. I'm like you and have many questions....Maybe someday we'll be able to meet in person....and wow, would we have a multitude of subjects to talk about!

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    1. Becky, I'd greatly enjoy that. I bet we'd share a lot of laughs too.

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    2. Oh yeah! LOTS of laughs!! :)

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  7. I imagine being a fireman can involve near death experiences, and for that reason I don't think it's unusual that he sees his own Angel. Thanks for an interesting post, Julie. I enjoyed reading it.

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    1. Hi Sharon, like you, I didn't question his experience. I even, sans the threat of fire, envy it.

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  8. I love this post. He's right about certain circumstances making things crystal clear.

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    1. That's a good way of putting it, Melissa. I heard from an EMT friend of mine who talked about a calm she feels when she's in the midst of an emergency.

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  9. Very well presented! By the way, if you ever get around to reading at least the last two crumbs of The Crackerhead Chronicles, you just might find some answers to some of your questions. For that is where I start talking about our Heavenly Father starting to make Himself real to me.

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    1. Jerry, that's right. I bet your books do go into this a bit. Thanks for the suggestion.

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  10. I've always looked up to firemen and policemen, having once been a police cadet back in high school. It takes a certain amount of faith in a higher power to have the courage to put your life on the line day in and day out. As for angels...they can be in the form of something ethereal, to something more physical such as another human being...

    Personally, I'd like to believe in angels. Makes the whole world seem so much less lonely. :)
    ~Anna

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    1. Hi Anna-- Thank you for stopping by. His story just stuck with me, maybe because it both confirms my faith and nags at my doubts. It is comforting to think there are angels among us.

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  11. Thank you so much for sharing this story! :)

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  12. I think we've all met angels unawares during the fiery trials in our lives. In this case, I hope he keeps seeing them if they're the ones leading him through those flames.

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    1. Milo-- that's exactly what I thought too. Thanks for stopping by.

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  13. I have had that thought - wondering if I would find God in a true crisis but not being brave enough to wish for one.

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  14. Interesting post. I think some of those questions can't really be answered intellectually. And I think we are most aware of the spiritual realm when we go through difficulties. Suddenly all the distractions are gone.

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    1. Hi Elizabeth-- sorry for my delayed response. We've been on the road travelling for the last week.

      I think you're spot-on about the answers not being intellectually based. That would be a one-dimensional perspective of who we are as humans.

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  15. Lovely post. My mother swears she saw an angel once when she was a child. Whether or not this actually happened, it has certainly guided her into becoming one of the most caring and compassionate people I have ever met.

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    1. There are multiple accounts of people having spiritual encounters. I think, as Elizabeth suggested, to assume we are purely physical and intellectual ignores a large part of who we are. Sounds like your mom knew this as well. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  16. I bet you've seen angels before, but your angels are the quiet type who do what they need to do and move out before you realize it :)

    PS... Another reason I know you've witnessed angels before... think back to the last time you stood at the edge of the bed and watched a sleeping child...

    Then there are, of course, *MY* angels... the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim :)~

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  17. Julie, I haven't seen my angels, but I know they're there and I'm grateful.

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