We were a busy household of ordered chaos--seven children, each separated by a year or so. The boys had responsibilities, as did the girls. When time permitted, we'd go in search of adventure. Our surroundings of livestock and machinery became our playground. One such adventure was finding anthills. My brothers delighted in filling the mounds with gasoline and setting them on fire. We did not know that hidden just below the surface was something extraordinary.
Sometimes we glimpse a world beyond that which we normally see. When we least expect it, we can be surprised by the extraordinary. A year ago, while kneeling in the back of a church, I looked up and saw angels in every direction, helping people. They were luminous, in long white robes. Some accompanied folks to their seats, some sat with small children, some walked with the disabled down the aisle, some gazed at babies in their mothers’ arms. Each angel was lovingly present to one person in particular. As I watched in awe, utterly dumbfounded by what I was seeing, the angels turned in unison and looked directly at me. They seemed quite aware that I could see them, and I somehow knew that I was supposed to see them, but I did not know why. We simply looked at one another, without speaking a word, and then they faded mysteriously from sight.
The Alabama song, Angels Among Us, has special meaning now. There are indeed angels among us -- some seen and others who walk unnoticed by our side.
Thanksgiving get-togethers are always a time of remembering. Conversations travel through the years as easily as dishes of sweet potatoes and green beans are passed from person to person. "Do you remember when....?" we are asked. We laugh and sometimes cry at the stories that unfold. Perhaps we had forgotten, but now remember.
There may have been little that seemed perfect about our youth, but looking back through the Thanksgivings of our life can help us see the obscured blessings. And, when the sun sets and the leftovers are served, such realizations help us rest in gratitude--for all that has been and is.
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