Angel at the Rainbow Blossom
Hebrews 13:2 …some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
Some days are better than others. Other days are just stinkin’ hard. We’ve had a few of those hard days in recent months. Many days I feel like my mind is blown, and I have trouble grasping the fact that my husband has cancer again, just when we had reached the 5 year mark after the last cancer. My concentration isn’t always what it should be and I make mistakes— I forget things. Sometimes I forget important things, like the other day.
On the way home from school, I had to stop by the art store to buy some supplies for my art classes. I shouldn’t say had to; I always enjoy stopping there. It’s inspiring for me to breathe in all of the colors of paints, pastels, and pencils lined up in neat rows just begging to be squeezed and splashed onto a canvas to create a masterpiece, and I look forward to the big smiles that will splash onto the faces of my students when they see the brand new materials….Ahhh! the pleasures of the art store…
Right next to the art store is the Rainbow Blossom health foods store. With this second diagnosis of cancer, we’ve started seeing a biochemist, along with the regular doctors. He has us on quite a regimen of healthy eating, so I thought I’d stop into the store to see what organic foods they have available that our local Kroger might not carry. I struggled for a few minutes with choices and asked myself, “How much is too much to spend on these organic veggies?” Finally resigned, I got in line behind a pleasant looking African-American lady. She paid for her groceries, but then she lingered behind to watch me check out.
“What are you going to do with all that?” she asked sweetly. I began to explain that my husband has cancer and is on a very strict diet.
“Yes,” she said. “I know what you’re going through.” I got the impression that she had first hand experience with cancer.
“But what are you going to do?” she asked.
Exactly what I had been thinking to myself, but not saying to anyone. “What am I going to do? How am I going to handle this?”
But who was this woman and what gave her the right to ask me such a personal question? Yet there was something in her manner that was so kind and so endearing that it made me want to open up to her.
“Well,” I answered, “I’m going to pray and trust God to take care of him. That’s all I can do.”
“Yes, that’s all any of us can do; trust God,” she replied slowly, thoughtfully, and with such caring, such sincerity, that the next thing I knew we were hugging–this lovely stranger and I in the front of the Rainbow Blossom! There we were, having a intense moment in front of the whole store in the check out line surrounded by organic veggies!
After that mystifying encounter, I stumbled out of the store thinking, “What in the world just happened? Who was that felt-hatted lady?”
Her words and her gesture toward me touched me in deep, raw, vulnerable places. I felt blessed, but at the same time the concern for my husband was still there. I drove home pondering all these things, and wondering at the love and sovereignty of God—my God who allows cancer, but sends a word of encouragement and a random hug from a never-met-before-or-since grandmother at the health food checkout counter.
Ruminating on all of these things, driving home and then—
Woahhhh! There’s a car turning in front of me!!! Screeching of my tires!! I tense up, straining with my muscles as if I could pull the car back and make it stop with the strength of my arms!! Can’t quite stop in time, and I crash into the back side of the car in front of me! A man gets out of his car, upset….
“You had a red light!!” he fumed.
“I got nothing.” I’m thinking to myself. “I guess I forgot to pay attention to the traffic light.”
Quietly, and I think rather meekly, I said, “Did I? Are you okay? I’m so sorry and I’m so glad you’re okay and I really couldn’t tell you what color the light was but I’m so sorry and I’m so glad you’re okay and I have insurance that will pay for it I was just driving on autopilot.…”
(I KNOW, RIGHT? THE STORY WASN’T SUPPOSED TO END LIKE THAT!! AFTER THE ENCOUNTER AT THE RAINBOW BLOSSOM, I WAS SUPPOSED TO GO HOME AND HAVE A BLISSFUL TIME SHARING WITH MARTIN HOW GOD ENCOURAGED ME THAT DAY….)
But instead, I had to call Martin, because the insurance cards were not in the glove box like they were supposed to be, and the sticker on the license plate was expired, and the officer was writing me a citation…. A couple of hours later, exhausted, we arrived at home together. As I was scrounging around in the kitchen throwing together a late supper, I got a whiff of something foul. After some investigation, we discovered that Martin’s shoe had found a dog pile that was by this time spread around the house and onto a couple of the throw rugs. This was getting ridiculous.
Finally sitting down to dinner with Martin, I apologized, “I’m so sorry to add to your stress, Honey!”
“I’m not stressed!” he replied, at which we both exploded with hysterical laughter.
My laughter was mixed with tears, but it felt good to laugh and to cry; and as I sat with the love of my life and told him about the angel at the Rainbow Blossom, I began to feel that this crazy, painful, wonderful, stinky, messy, beautiful story that I’m living in will somehow, one day have a happy ending. And in the mean time, I’m watching out for the next angel, and I’m taking all the hugs I can get!