This I Believe

Alex - Northfield, Minnesota
Entered on March 6, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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An Angel in All

Ever since I saw a man stop the rain, I believe anyone could be an angel. I had never been sure before that. It’s one of those things that you always hear about, but never happens to you. Everyone knows someone, who knew someone, who has supposedly had an experience with an otherworldly being. You can never be sure, and I never thought I would be sure. Then I went to Davanni’s Pizza and Hot Hoagie.

As I was leaving with half of my beloved garlic and cheese pizza in tow, I was stopped at the door. Through the pouring of rain onto the asphalt grey world in front of me, I could barely make out the figures taking shelter under the front page headlines across the street. I knew my pizza and I had no chance, so I grumbled and turned to wait it out. That’s when I saw him in the shaded corner under the dim glow of the fluorescent lights. He was the typical homeless man: ragged clothes, dirty hair, rotting teeth. He was even mixing free water with free lemon slices and free sugar to fill his stomach. But usually they didn’t do this. Usually they didn’t motion for me to come closer. I had no where to go. I was stuck between an instantaneous bath and, what I believed would be, a dry, but awkward, encounter.

My pizza? Of course I wasn’t going to finish it! I thrust him the wretched leftovers, but I couldn’t leave. The rain hadn’t stopped, but that wasn’t the problem. “Could I get you anything else?” I finally asked. “A large ham and cheese pizza? Sure thing!”

After ordering, I returned to let the man know his pizza would be brought to him soon. He stood up, hugged me, and earnestly thanked me over the roar of the rain shaking the windows. It was not until I turned to leave that I believed. My eyes were forced closed for a second. They had no time to adjust to the sun streaming from the cloudless heavens, as the asphalt world flowed down the drains with the last of the rainwater.

How could I not believe? I guess it could all have been chance. That doesn’t actually happen. Or does it? Had I just been ignoring it all along? How many other angels have I missed in the world? What about that guy on I-494 with the flat tire during the blizzard? That old lady struggling to make correct change at the cash register? Had I missed my cue?

Maybe that man wasn’t an angel. Maybe angels don’t even exist. I can never fully convince myself of what actually happened. He may have just been another homeless man trying to find some food, but the thought no longer bothers me. Where is the harm in believing that anyone I meet may be an angel? I suppose there’s always the risk that I might accidentally waste my time helping someone who is just a normal human being.