Meeting an angel, visiting a saint

Departing BFI as BOE008 Heavy

Departing BFI as BOE008 Heavy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2                                                                 To start with, I almost didn’t sit next to her because of a seating error. By the time everything was corrected, I had to move several seats further back in the plane. I caught sight of a golden head of hair and heard a melodious voice say , “Hi,” as I schlepped my belongings to a seat that was very close to the bathrooms. “Hi,” I mumbled as I glanced her way. I was being anti-social for a good reason; on the hour drive in to the airport I had come down with a cold. Has that ever happened to you? At 8:30 a.m. you are as healthy as a ripe tomato, and by 9:30 a.m. you have a headache, intense sinus pressure, runny eyes and nose, and a cough, with three hours on an airplane coming up. Once on the plane, I was trying to disappear into my seat so that I wouldn’t be ejected bodily from the jam-packed Delta flight by  passengers who were thinking, “It’s her! The one with Kleenex falling out of her pockets. She’s the Jonah who brought a plague into the aircraft! Throw her out the cargo doors.”

Even before the cold bug dragged me down me, I had been living with a mill stone tied around my heart. I was on my way to visit a sister, the dearest of saints, hoping and praying that, by God’s grace,  forgiveness would be extended and a relationship would be restored; but I knew there was no guarantee that either of those things would happen.  Then this cold had descended like a judgement – was it  a sign that I should wait until another time to bring up tough questions? Should I play the “I’m sick” card and let my sainted sister care for me, as I knew she would? Or was the cold a diversionary tactic, an irritating distraction, meant to thwart the purpose of the trip? I blew my nose and pondered these things.

In my seat, I turned 45 uncomfortable degrees away from my seatmate to decrease the possibility of cross-contamination from my cold germs. It wasn’t until the attendants came with the food cart that I faced directly forward.  Both my seatmate and I decided  to partake of the snacks offered. We both stowed the  books we had been reading and put our trays down, but before she put it away, I saw that my neighbor was reading a study on the book of Ephesians. Ephesians! A surge of Holy Spirit  electricity shot through me. Soon, the flight attendant came by with bread and wine – well, lukewarm coffee and pretzels, actually, but it might as well have been the elements, because a gracious communion meal began right there at the back of the plane.

And we did commune, finding a lot of common ground: we were both from families of ten children; both raised Catholic; both of us had sisters who had taken vows in a community of nuns; both of us were facing challenges within our birth families, and we both were following the One we love, the Lord Jesus, into new places.

My seatmate’s name, I finally learned, was Meg. Meg asked the most amazing, generous questions, about my life and  family,  and the reason for my trip home; she also asked questions about the dearest of saints that I was going to visit. The two of us exchanged a lot of information in the short period of time we had together. Just before the plane landed, Meg turned to me and said, “I can see that the enemy could really cause trouble in this situation with your family. I would like to pray for you – may I?”  I looked into her blue eyes, and nodded yes. Meg then prayed for my health, peace, open hearts, healing,  pure motives and the presence of the Holy Spirit to direct all events. She prayed for other things, too, but I don’t know what they were because at that moment I began to realize what I was experiencing: God had sent a messenger, an angel – albeit a flesh and blood one –  to minister to me on this difficult journey home, and I was overwhelmed with amazement and thanksgiving. When Meg said “Amen”, I asked if I could pray for her, also. In my prayer for Meg, which was one of gratitude for God’s tender care in all areas of Meg’s life, and an acknowledgement that what the Lord does “is marvelous in our eyes,” I thanked God for sending a ministering angel named Meg to sit next to me on the plane. Meg did not dispute that this was true, so I have decided that until Meg or the Lord says otherwise, I will believe that God did provide an angel that day to encourage His ill, crabby and troubled child.

Meg and I said our goodbyes as we deplaned. She came across my line of vision one more time  as she walked jauntily down a long corridor to the main doors of the airport. I saw her from the back, her hair golden and shining, but there were no other signs of heaven around her – that I could identify, anyway.

The visit with my sister went very well. It was a good, difficult, painful,  scary and beautiful four days. We talked, prayed, laughed, cried and got angry, but we spoke the truth in love to each other. Forgiveness flowed and healing began – even my cold got better fairly quickly. My sister is the dearest of saints to me – but she is as human as they come; as fatally flawed as me and the rest of the human race. I am so very happy, and relieved, that it was possible for us to spend time together, and that the time was God honoring and fruitful. I made my way home from that visit filled with hope.

And Meg? Was she an angel or an earthling? Well, I have tried to reach her via email; there has been no response – yet – so the jury is still out on that question. But no matter what the outcome, whether she is of earth or of heaven, she was most certainly a gift of encouragement from God at a time when I desperately needed it, for which I am very thankful.

11 thoughts on “Meeting an angel, visiting a saint

    • Thanks, Terri. I sincerely hope the time comes when the EMPG (Early Morning Prayer Group) gets to meet Meg on this side of heaven : )

  1. I’m still chuckling over the line “I blew my nose and pondered these things.” Brilliant writing, Teri. As is your opening line and the communion scene and the Jonah reference. This is a beautiful telling of a marvelous story. I’m so glad that it’s a true story!

    • Thanks, Tracey, for your lovely comments! The story had to find it’s way onto ‘paper’ so that I can concentrate on the daily tasks at hand. It all was an amazing and very intense experience.Thanks, also, for being among those who were covering the trip in prayer.

  2. With tears in my eyes I laughed an sniffled all at the same time. What a wonderful retelling of your experience! May there be many more Megs for all of us to encounter.

    • Yes – thanks be to God for the Megs he sends our way! Now every time I see the word ‘angel’, Meg’s face pops into my brain. Even the angel Gabriel has become a petite blonde woman in her 40’s who looks great in red. Oh! Michelle, that could be you! Hmm…anything about yourself you’d like to share, dear niece?

  3. Love the Master and Commander reference : ) I agree that God sent you a ministering angel and was she a BSF’er? We have been going through Ephesians for the last month. Great story and well written! : )

    • Hi Rob – Meg had just been introduced to BSF – was totally surprised that no one had ever mentioned it to her before. She was very excited about it because she could find a class anywhere that she might be traveling. I don’t know if her booklet was a BSF study or not – it certainly could have been.

      So – now you know the secret arsenal that I use for all my writing – Master and Commander. To date, you are the only one to catch the British navy Jonah reference. But then, Patrick O’Brian and the 19th Century English navy were working from another more ancient reference, weren’t they? One that the 21st Century still recognizes, too, although not as readily.

      Thanks for your encourging words, Rob.

  4. Awesome, Teri! Thanks so much for sharing it! You are am amazing writer and God’s loving care is so precious! Love ya’, Jenny

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