Perhaps the strangest event that happened on my long journey to recovery (so far) came at the moment of greatest stress. I had been wheeled out of my hospital room and was on my way to surgery where my left foot would be amputated. My mind was whirling; one minute soaring into heights of faith then plunging into terror the next. Suddenly I entered a hall that had one exit, a metal garage-type door. As I lifted my head from the bed on which I was being transported I gasped with surprise. In the center of that door stood the figure of a tall man standing legs apart and arms akimbo. I peeled my eyes trying to see what it was but the figure was was backlit by ambient lighting.
As my bed rolled closer my confusion became shock. The figure standing like an ancient hero in front of that steel door was a former member of my church who (I thought) had moved to a different state. I knew him as a quiet dignified retired guy. But now he stood face to face in front of me assuming an unlikely pose in this most unlikely place.
The steel door opened and my shock became bewilderment as he turned and walked alongside my bed into the pre-op room. As a former hospice chaplain I knew this was sacred territory barred even to families but there he was sitting quietly beside me as I awaited surgery.
Then I remembered the Bible verse that warns us that sometimes we entertain angels unaware and wondered if that’s what this was. I still wonder but more often when I look back now I tend to think about the church and what a blessing it is to be part of a community that loves and cares about each member. In this case it meant that at my darkest moment I was not alone.