Someone's Angel - A Short Story by Carolyn Marshall

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I was going through some of the poems and short stories I have written over the years and came across this one. It's been about 24 years ago now since I had this experience. It seems like a simple one on the surface but it is ever-so powerful, especially in the times we now live. Do you have an opportunity to be "Someone's Angel" ...

Have you ever been in the right place at the right time to do something you would remember for the rest of your life? I have. It was more than 10 years ago, and it still haunts me today. I believe God gives us opportunities through our lives to be someone else’s “Angel”. We don’t always meet the task, though, as it was for me that day so many years ago.

It started out as a normal day. There were the usual chores on my “To-Do” list. One of those things was to get groceries for the next week. I made the trip to my regular store, got my cart, and began filling it. God had been good to me. I was able to shop without worrying about how much money was in my purse.

After being in the store only five minutes, I noticed an older couple. They appeared to be in their 80s, very thin, and dressed in an unkempt manner. This, in itself, was not what caught my attention. They were walking very close to one another, whispering as if they had a secret to keep from the rest of the world. “Mrs.” pushed the cart, and “Mr.” walked beside her with a shopping list in his hands.

Because of their secretiveness, I stayed a little behind them. Curiosity got the best of me. And, something was tugging at my heart. It was not quite clear to me at that time what I was concerned about.

Mr. and Mrs. moved slowly past the refrigerated section, stopping every few feet or so. They quietly discussed whether or not they would get each item they put in their cart. They would pick something up, and then put it back down. My heart strings were being pulled. I wondered if they had enough money to pay for the groceries and were being selective about the things they would purchase.

Then, Mrs. did something that gave me a sinking feeling in my stomach. She picked up a bottle of milk, studied it very carefully and placed it in her cart. Apparently, she had to decide which was more important, butter or milk, because the butter she had picked up earlier was placed back on the shelf.

Deep within, I was beginning to feel that my earlier suspicions about this couple not having enough money for food were true. It appeared they had to make choices on what they could and could not buy. Choices as to what food was most important to them. Because they were so thin, I began wondering whether they had enough to eat. Thoughts of how I would feel if my own mother were in her 80s and having to ration like that began racing through my mind.

How could I help these people? These could be people I knew and loved. Should I go up to them and offer them money? I didn’t want to offend them, and I didn’t know what to do. So, I did nothing. I thought of all kinds of scenarios that would allow me to help them. But, I did nothing.

Did I fail at an opportunity to be Mr. and Mrs.’ Angel? Maybe. They may not have needed my help. But, I will never know the answer to that question, because I didn’t follow my heart and reach out to them. Vivid details of how this couple looked, walked, and discussed their choices with each other play in my mind to this day. I know I will never forget that day.

The moral to this story is “listen to your heart”. Once you’ve missed the beat of the moment, you can never go back. God has sent many angels to me throughout my life. Without Him, I would never be able to make it. Take advantage of each opportunity you get to be one of God’s “Angels”. You never know when someone else will be in the right place at the right time when you need an Angel of your own.

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