There have been things in the news lately that make me question my theory that everyone deserves a second chance.  I don’t want to put in links to the news stories that I’m referring to because I prefer not to focus on the madness.

It’s not good vs. evil.  It’s not us vs. them.  It’s hope vs. pain.

During my recent hospital stay, I realized that when you’re in pain, nothing matters but relief.

We may focus so much on the pain that we forget hope even exists.

I think that pain may be preparation for purpose.  It may be that what you learn while wounded in the trench is an education in empathy.  A crash course in compassion. When the pain is finally lifted, you’re able to share your experience to help someone else on the same path.

This morning, I focused on the pile of bills and the persistent pain in my life, and prayed, quite melodramatically:

Why is this happening, Lord?  I cried. Where are You?

Later in the day, I had an appointment with an agency that provides resources for low-vision patients.  Two very pleasant ladies showed up at my door; one of them was blind herself, and she tapped the step in front of her with her cane. At first, as with anyone I don’t know, I wasn’t sure how much I’d be able to open up to them.

Before I knew it, we were chatting like old friends. As it turns out, they were people of faith too. They shared some of their own struggles and I realized that this was the answer to my morning prayer.

Where are You?

Right here, child.

Wherever two or more are gathered in My Name – even if they’re not talking about religion – I am there in the midst of them. They didn’t have to quote scripture or baptize me with holy water. They encouraged me.  They offered me the sacrament of their own experience. They listened.

Then my physical therapist came for our weekly appointment.  She’s pure positive energy with a knack for healing. No matter where the pain is, she zeroes in on it like a laser beam.  I want to say that she massages my foot and leg – that is, if “massage” is French for painful kneading of muscles that results in my muttering expletives at her in French! – but she’s the reason I can walk at all.

So this crew of caring showed up and, even though they aren’t missionaries or pastors, they ministered to me. Even in the face of pain, hope seemed reasonable again.

Angels appear in many forms, and sometimes, they come right to your front door.  And they may even bring answers to prayers and unexpected blessings.

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