Have you ever heard one of those stories about an unexplainable and untraceable person that comes seemingly out of nowhere and performs a heroic deed? Like at the scene of a terrible car wreck a stranger runs over and singlehandedly lifts the car off of someone pinned underneath. How about in an out-of-the-way restaurant where an elderly man is choking on a chicken bone, fearing he is going to die, when all of a sudden an unlikely hero comes out of the clear blue, and performs the Heimlich maneuver, shooting the chicken bone across the room. Or perhaps it’s the story of a passerby who notices smoke coming from a house and alerts the sleeping family of six, saving them from certain death.
In each of these stories the person who performed the heroic act is an unexplainable entity that leaves without a trace, as quickly as they came, leaving those involved to believe it was their guardian angel.
I had my own guardian angel experience yesterday. It went something like this.
I had the unpleasant job today of taking Cassady and Caleb to pick out soccer cleats. Now I realize that picking out soccer cleats is not brain surgery but you have to admit that taking two teenagers to pick out a pair of…
bright color that says “chick-a-bam!”
Nike brand of athletic shoes on a Devin Rohr budget….well that’s enough to make me wanna medicate!
When we drove onto the Academy Sports and Outdoors parking lot I began to prepare the kids for what was ahead. “ok, I know you both want awesome shoes…and believe me, I want you to have awesome shoes too because I don’t want to be the mother of the kid with the dorky shoes, BUT I can’t make any promises until we go look and check prices, ok?” They both understood the challenge ahead and agreed to keep their expectations in check…thankfully they are not high maintenance kids!
once we made it to the to the soccer cleat section, the kids began to work their way up and down the aisle, soon picking out the ones they wanted from the display shelf. So far so good, I thought, we had only been there a few minutes and they had already found their dream cleats. As I began to look for sizes in the wall to wall, floor to ceiling sea of shoe boxes I quickly came to the realization that there was ZERO organization and NO method to the shoe madness. The display shoes were not paired with the boxes that matched them and all of the different brands were mixed together…Nike, Adidas and Puma were in a scrambled mess! And trying to understand their coding, so we could find the style and size we wanted, was like trying to decipher petroglyphs! I was beginning to lose by pleasant disposition so I sent Caleb to go find a sales clerk. He came back empty-handed. Then I went on the hunt…I too came back with nothing. Finally I spotted one lone sales clerk who looked like he was running from a pack of wolves. He was bouncing between answering phones, looking for sizes and checking the computer for availability. Finally I waved to get his attention, “sir, could you see if you can find this in a size eight please?” he nodded his head and took the shoe. After what seemed to be and eternity he came back and said, “I’m sorry ma’am we don’t have it”. Before I had a chance to wrestle him to the ground and put him in a choke hold….he was gone.
My frustration level soon went from a manageable 4 on the scale, to an alarming 1,739! While I was standing at the base of the wall, straining to read sizes and style codes, a man appears out of nowhere. He was not your typical athletic superstore shopper. As a matter of fact he was quite the opposite. He was a short, middle-aged man with salt and pepper, unkept hair and three days worth of growth on his face. He wore a pair of faded denim jeans that was draped below a rather large pot belly and a pair of well-worn, no name, athletic shoes that had seen better days. And to top off his ensemble, he wore an un-tucked button up shirt that had the sleeves cut out, exposing his armpit hair.
He walked up and stood right beside us and looked up at the place we were looking. “what are y’all looking for?” he said, never making eye contact. “well, we are were looking for this shoe in a size eight but of course they don’t have it”, I said in an exasperated tone, “and this wall is so mixed up I can’t make heads or tails of it”. He stood there, just looking and not saying much so I went about my business. Cassady found her second choice, but again couldn’t find the size so I asked the preschool clerk to help me once again. While he was in the back looking, the unlikely athlete said, “which shoe was it you were looking for again?”. I showed him the shoe and he asked to see the box, after admiring the shoe and studying the name and code on the outside of the box he said, “wow, those are really nice”. “I know”, I replied, “she really had her heart set on these but the clerk said they were out…he’s looking for her second choice now”. “what size are you looking for?” he said so calmly, “we were looking for an eight but there are no more left”. I was puzzled by his interest in our shoe choice and size. He didn’t seem to be looking for himself at all…and I never felt awkward or threatened by him…I just saw it as a strange encounter.
Suddenly, as we waited for the clerk to return with the bad news, the man pointed up and said, “there’s your shoe up there”. I didn’t believe him, I figured he must be mistaken…after all, we had looked in every box and read the outside of the ones we couldn’t reach…even the clerk looked…and nothing. Even though I doubted he had found the shoe, I humored him by saying, “really? Where?” “right up there on the very top” I could not believe my eyes! There it was, right where he said! “oh my goodness!” I exclaimed, “I can’t believe you found it! Wow, that’s way up there! We’re going to need that clerk”. All of a sudden, he walked up to the wall of shelves and began to climb it like a ladder! I was freaking out! I just knew that mountain of shoe boxes was going to come tumbling down on top of us. That, middle-aged, pot-bellied, armpit showing, non athlete was like…
like a monkey…
like Spider man…
like a redneck guardian angel!
When he came down that wall, with that box in his hand I thanked him profusely. Cassady quickly opened the box and there they were…the perfect shoe…in the perfect size. “I looked at him with a smile and said, “who needs a clerk when you’re around? Thank you so much! You’re our hero!” He didn’t say much and didn’t make a big deal out of it, he just smile and said, “you’re welcome”, and disappeared into the mist. After the excitement wore off I began to feel a twinge of guilt at my silent judgements I had made on this man. Was he unlikely? Yes. Did I have my doubts about his abilities? Yes. Did I dismiss his declaration? Yes. But did those negative thoughts and doubts stop him from succeeding? Absolutely not!
What a lesson I learned that day. More often than not, God doesn’t use the likely ones, the perfect ones or even the pretty ones. He uses the willing ones. The ones with no fear. The ones that act. The ones who believe that with Him…all things are possible!
2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
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