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Monday, June 11, 2012

Angels we have heard on high

Did you know 68% of Americans believe in angels? I am not surprised. (I couldn't find Canadian stats).

Angels come in many forms; the flowing gown angel with majestic white wings, the old good-hearted angel named Clarence who appeared to George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life, Charlie's Angels or even Victory Secret Angels (although they are not real, they're photo shopped). Maybe it's just someone who does an angelic deed for a neighbour.
I have always believed that angels come to you when you ask them to and in many forms.

I think when someone steps into your life and changes the course you are on for the good, they are an angel. These deeds may not always be earth-shattering deeds that open the heavens, it could be a small gesture or a word.
When I was young I was a tom boy. No one really knew I was a girl till I was about sixteen! Let's just say I was a little homely. A friend of my brothers was visiting from the mainland. I was also painfully shy so I was not good at holding a conversation either. At supper he tried his best to include me in the conversation but the best I could do was a nod or say yup. He must have grown frustrated at one point because he looked me in the eye and said, "You know Helen. If you would learn to talk properly you could really go places. I know you have interesting things to say. So just say them. I'd like to hear your opinion." It was the first time anyone asked me for my opinion. His words stuck with me for the rest of my life. Every time I was too shy to speak up I kept hearing "I know you have interesting things to say. So just say them." That one comment changed the course of my life. I taught myself to speak up and remembered what I had to say mattered.  He was an angel.

Over the years I have been involved with a youth organization focused on girls and I've done several career talks to teens. I always seek out that one kid that stands in the back of the room or hides in the corner. I find something nice to say that will make them feel good about themselves. Like, "I loved that picture you painted. You're such a good artist." Or, "You're so smart I can see it in you. Tell me what you are going to be when you finish school." I see myself in that kid and I  make sure I pay it forward. I realized that one good, encouraging comment you say to a kid maybe the one that changes their whole life. You maybe their angel.
When I finished high school I knew I wanted to go into broadcasting. No one in my family had gone to university or done any post secondary education. I found university intimidating. I called Student Services one day and tried to explain what I wanted to do but the person on the other end of the phone didn't have the motivation or time to help me. I became discouraged and was ready to give up. I just didn't know how to say out loud "I want to be in broadcasting now help me!" My friend Carol, who had a car at the time, which was a big thing, because I could barely afford the bus, told me "I will pick you up tomorrow and drive you to MUN and we will find the program that's right for you." She did and we found a broadcasting course in Edmonton that I liked. She helped me apply and I got in. The rest as they say "Is history." I graduated, went into broadcasting then jumped to communications. Carol was an angel who took the time to help a friend and it changed the course of my life.

We have become a world of people who look up to celebrities. I read one statistic that said one out of every three young girls would rather be famous than intelligent. That's startling considering many women in third world countries don't have the right to be educated let alone famous.
I've never idolized a celebrity. I've plastered my bedroom with posters of Elvis and the Bay City Rollers back in the day because I loved their music but I never wanted to be like them. Back then we also didn't know every move celebrities made either like we do today.  Can you imagine if Elvis sent out a Tweet every time he moved. The whole internet would be all shook up!

There are too many people misguiding young people. It's too easy to find the anti-angels.  Angels do walk among us. They are everyday people who just happen to be in the right place at the right time in your life. They motivate you to think about your life, they inspire you to do something, they put their arms around you and comfort you when you need it. They give you hope. They create serendipity - the happy accident.
Whether you believe in God or not, you have to believe in angels. Think about your life and the people who changed it for the better, they are the Angels you have heard on high.