Everywhere AngelsWhat a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god!
· William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), "Hamlet", Act 2 scene 2
She was three. Just released from a far-away hospital after life threatening brain surgery, ready to take on the world again. I was happy just to have her back. My little "Mr. Clean" (shaven head and hoop earrings) and me driving along to our local mall. Hanging out with dad day.
I recall her words as if it were yesterday.
"Daddy, can I get a treat?"
As she was understandably spoiled (if there is such a thing), I replied "OK honey, but just ONE".
Her eyes beamed like the Fourth of July in anticipation of that something only she knew at the time.
We drove around to the new end of the mall on the normal seek-and-destroy mission of capturing a parking place. After all, it was Saturday. We landed a fair distance from our destination, and began walking hand-in-hand towards the entrance, her pace gaining momentum with each tiny step. A few feet from the doors she broke loose and ran hands-first into the thick wall of glass, trying with everything she had to swing the big doors open. No luck. With a little assistance, she 'did it' and tried the very same thing at the second set of doors.
It was then that I asked her what she wanted for her treat. Without hesitation, she matter-of-factly said "an ice cream comb from the ice cream store." OK, the goal was set and we were in the mall!
But hold on! What was this? At the end of what was just an ordinary looking lane of retail chain outlets she spied something new-- this huge fountain, water shooting who knows how high into the air. The new goal line!
She ran, and I walked (don't ya just hate it when parents let their kids run wild in public?), and we arrived at the spectacle at about the same time. The turbulent noise was almost deafening.
"Daddy, can I make a wish, can I make a wish?" she screamed as she jumped with the kind of pure joy we've all long since forgotten.
"Sure honey, but that will be YOUR TREAT you know" I explained (gotta be firm with these kind of things).
I fumbled around in my pocket and pulled out what I think was a dime (big spender) and placed it in her outstretched hand. She cupped it tightly, closed her eyes and grimaced, formulating her wish. I stared at that little scrunched-up face and said my own kind of prayer of thanks, feeling so blessed to still have this ball of energy in my life. And then like a shooting star, the coin was flung into the foaming water and with it, her wish.
We happily continued our stroll into the familiar section of the mall. An eerie silence ensued, which I was admittedly uncomfortable with. When I just couldn't stand it anymore, I couldn't resist breaking it.
"Aren't you gonna tell daddy what you wished for?"
She retorted "I wished I could get an ice cream comb."
I just about lost it right then and there. Couldn't imagine what the shoppers thought of this lunatic laughing uncontrollably in the middle of a crowded mall. And needless to say, she got her wish, and two treats.
Little did I know then that my beautiful little girl would soon embark on a long road of seizures, surgeries, special schools, medications and end up partially paralyzed on her right side. She never learned to ride a bike.
Today, she is almost seventeen. She cannot use her right hand and walks with a noticeable limp. But she has overcome what life seemed to so cruelly inflict on her. She was teased a lot and always struggled in school, both socially and academically. But each year she showed improvement. She is planning a career in early childhood education. With one year still remaining in high school, her and I, one night not too long ago, mapped out all the courses she would need to take in community college. It was her idea. She volunteers weekly at a local hospital, on the children's floor. She baby-sits a neighbors children five days a week. On her own this year, she stood outside in line for four hours on a cold Canadian January afternoon and enrolled herself, with her own babysitting money, into two courses she felt she would need for college.
You see, to her failure was never an option.
It would almost be redundant for me to explain why I wanted to share this story with you. She IS my daughter and I carry all those fatherly biases with me wherever I go. But these aside, she is a very exceptional person and one that I admire and have learned a lot from.
It is my sincerest hope that her story will have even a momentary positive impact on you as a human being, a parent or a spouse.
I'd like to leave you with a closing thought. As human beings, we deserve all the treats, and the multitude of good things that life can offer us. We all have wishes and dreams, AND the power to make them reality. Just simple truths of the universe.
We can wish for, and get, that ice cream comb.
- Rick Beneteau
Author, recording artist and songwriter, businessman (the family drycleaning business), web entrepreneur, and a downright "interesting fellow," Rick Beneteau has a lot to say, and so many ways to say it: eBooks, songs, stories and more. His latest venture is PeopleBuildingPeople.com, a place to discover answers to your most perplexing personal and business problems as well as find understanding and comfort and to learn from and interact with highly respected and well known leaders in the personal development and business fields, individuals who know how to create success because they've created their own.
The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us, and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.
· George Eliot
Lots of people believe in angels. I do. Being the only catholic country in Asia (as my Social Studies teacher told me), Filipinos are very inclined to believe in angels, miracles, apparitions and other heavenly creatures such as the dancing sun, dancing moon, growing statues of Christ and Mary and more! Our religious teachers give lectures about angels. Our parish priests give their homilies in masses about angels. We believe they are here, sent by God, to help guide us in certain ways, smooth things that are rough, bridge gaps and create unity among men.
Yet, most of the time we look for heavenly creatures equipped with wings to show up and help us and we tend to ignore the people around us. We prefer to concentrate instead on the majesty and glory that an angel would bring to our lives while our loved ones are often kept in the darkest corner of our hearts.
Recently my grandmother had a stroke which caused half her body to be paralyzed. Only a special nurse could take care of her. Things got a little rough when she would forget things and be stubborn and not take the advice of her doctors.
I was very close to my grandmother. I would go see her and kiss her on her forehead and remind her of the beautiful memories that we both shared. Then she would cry and tell me that she loved me and say how much she wished she could get better.
During her illness I had an appendicitis. My appendix would have burst within hours and most likely my body would have been poisoned if it wasn't for my grandmother. I could no longer stretch my body or even eat because it hurt too much. I prayed to Jesus and asked him to send me an angel to heal me. But, an angel never appeared. My grandmother learned of my condition and even though she was still very sick, she fought with my grandfather and convinced him to bring me to the hospital. If it wasn't for my grandmother...
Time had passed and my grandmother got worse and worse. Finally my mother asked me to come to the hospital to bid good-by to her. My grandmother's whole family was there and they were all crying. As I approached her, my tears began to fall. I knew she was suffering by the apparatuses in her mouth, nose, neck and arm. Slowly, I began to say, "I L-o-v-e Y-o-u," and I left.
That night she died. When I was sleeping, I dreamed of her in white roses and I cried again.
From that night on I realized that angels really do exist, but not always in the form of heavenly creatures with wings.
Some angels take the form of humans. They are the ones who perform miracles through their loving acts. They are the people right beside us who love us tirelessly, endlessly and who want only the best for us. My grandmother was an angel.
Contributed by Mark Relova, a 16-year-old high school student at Pasig Catholic College in Pasig City, Philippines.