Angels Unawares

Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

Home Depot at Fayette Pavilion seemed like a good idea after Bill’s radiation treatment (not bad at all, according to him); we could handle the two individual 25 pound bags of yard dirt for filling the holes in the front lawn made by our little friends the chipmunk triplets, Chipper, Brownie, and Fudge. But we were also contemplating purchasing potting soil, and as we stood in front of the only size bags available, we soon realized there was no way humanly possible, even working together, that Bill and I could wrestle the ungainly 75 pound bag up and into our basket. We looked around for help, and from behind the Peace Lily’s to our right a tall, smiling man stepped forward. Thinking at first he might be an employee, we greeted him with, “Hello, do you work here?”

Offering us first a big wide grin, he said, “No. But you look like you could use some help.” Then he reached out a strong, laborer’s hand and said, “Hi, my name is Blank Johnson, and I’m an ex PE teacher trying to get a little Yard and Miscellaneous Chores business started.”

Well, that was all it took for me to be off on an “I was a teacher, too” conversation. So, as Mr. Blank Johnson (I never caught his first name) shared his teaching and coaching experience, which included all levels of public school plus Troy State, he hoisted three bags of soil into our basket.

We thanked him profusely, and he handed Bill a business card which Bill put immediately into his front shirt pocket. At the register, I had just begun to wonder how we were going to lift those bags from the bottom of the cart up and into the trunk of our car when Coach Johnson hailed us from behind. If we would get our car, he would help us unload and load once again as soon as he paid for his purchase.

Wow. Sounded great, and as there were no Home Depot workers handy, we agreed happily. I went for the car and spied the box of Krispy Kreme donuts in the back seat. Only two were left, but when I offered them to Coach Johnson, he lit up and said,” Wooo Weee. I love those as good as anything. That does it,” he grinned broadly, showing strong white teeth in a handsome black face. Tipping his straw cowboy hat, he shouted, “We family now. You call me for anything!”

We drove off laughing and congratulating ourselves on having found such a wonderful new friend who could help us with the hedges and heavy mulching jobs Bill would be unable to do while in Radiation and the Keytruda treatments with surgery to follow. Coach Johnson was going to be a lifesaver; I knew he was sent from God—who has repeatedly gone before us in this difficult new journey we are on.

I asked Bill to read his card to me while I drove, wondering what other information he might have included besides his number.  “The Johnson Team,” Bill read. ”There is a Helping Hands logo on the bottom left and a list of things they will do including washing garage windows. Hmmmm. Strange,” Bill muttered. “There is no phone number.”

“NO phone number!? How about an email?” No email. I was speechless. I couldn’t believe that there was no way to contact The Johnson Team. No Coach Johnson. No Helping Hands….Are were there?

What is it that the Bible reminds us of more than once? To pay attention? For we may indeed have “entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13: 2. I like to think so.

That scripture from Hebrews most often refers to those we show hospitality “to,” but we know that angels come among us and we are “unaware.” Coach Johnson was one of those “strangers” I believe was sent to us at a moment of need. If he is out there, or if any of you know of this man who was a teacher, a PE instructor, a coach, please, please contact me through this publication or via my email at mizlynn00@yahoo.com. It would mean the world to me if I could find this man. We did thank him and gift him with two fine examples of Krispy Kreme’s delicious donuts, but we want to call him as he told us several times. “Call me!” he shouted, and he waved goodbye.

We want to tell him, “Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you.” 3 John: 1-5

Amen.

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