I believe in everyday angels who would be uncomfortable with this description and would probably describe themselves as ordinary. They live their lives, make a living, work hard and take care of their families. They’re often humble and are not striving for something more. They’ll never know how much they have meant to me nor would they be comfortable being elevated to the status of “everyday angel”. There was Bill, the manager at the corner convenience store where I went for my morning coffee for years. I looked forward to seeing Bill. I never saw him without a smile, kind words for his employees, and vibrant conversations with his customers. I came to feel a sense of awe over this kind of consistency. After being in Bill’s presence I started my day with a smile and the kind of joy in my heart that I wanted to pass along. When he retired a few years ago I grieved the loss of his presence in my life. I was shocked at how sad I was over someone I really didn’t know. Yesterday, I read in the obituaries that Chuck, who owned the service station I went to died. Chuck was another everyday angel who seemed to work day and night but always had a smile on his face and appreciation for my presence. I wasn’t just another customer and neither was anyone else who came to his business. Again, I feel empty and sad. Someone who meant so much to me is gone without ever knowing how he made my life and the world a better place. But, like Bill, he would have probably been embarrassed by an excessive display of emotion on my part. At times like this I think about a quote I heard once “How do you tell someone they’re running around shining like the sun?” As a grief counselor I work with loss and sadness all the time, but most people still think there is a hierarchy of grief. That we probably all grieve more for our children, parents, siblings, and grandparents than we do for “strangers”. The funny thing is that those strangers can change our lives one by one and, in doing so, begin to make the world a better place.
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