Angels unaware

On a fall morning about 25 years ago I woke with a head-splitting migraine attack. Alone and scared, the only medicines available were Tylenol or Advil.  I tried my best to get by with naps and cold wash cloths, but the attack was spinning out of control.  Panic was setting in quickly.

Image courtesy of stockimages at
Image courtesy of stockimages at

Then there was a knock on the door. It was a woman from another apartment whom I’d never met. Whatever she wanted was quickly forgotten when the tortured face of a horrific migraine answered the door. Most people would have apologized for bothering me, encouraged me to “get some rest”, and walked away. Not this woman — she was so moved with compassion that she invited herself in to help. I was in no condition to refuse. Quietly and quickly she guided me to the sofa, then asked permission to touch my hair and head. Desperate for relief, I would have agreed to anything. Softly she explained that her brother (I think) had terrible migraines and that it always helped him if she massaged his head. She must have massaged my head for hours! No one else has ever had the stamina to do what she did. The last thing I remember she tucked a blanket around me and whispered goodbye as I dozed off into a pain-free, exhausted sleep.

I woke just before my husband returned from work, so euphoric from the relief that I didn’t notice my very long hair was teased and knotted from that long, aggressive massage. It took me a long time to untangle that mess. It was difficult to explain how sick I had been just a few hours earlier. I never knew her name or apartment number, so I couldn’t thank her properly.

Her genuine compassion made a lasting impression. For years I longed for someone else to show this same level of caring. I haven’t met anyone else with the same skills, either. Each time there is an opportunity to demonstrate love and compassion to others, I wonder about her. Was she real? Did I just dream the whole thing?

There is only one conclusion. In our most desperate moments, God sends an angel to love and comfort us. Maybe that angel is just another human who is uniquely positioned to help. Then again, sometimes relief comes from the unexplainable. Sometimes God really does send an angel.

Have you ever been visited by someone who offered such relief?


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