by Hope Crawford
On the morning of April 27, 2011, a tornado swooped through our community. Compared to most, we had very little damage. The turbine from our roof ended up in pieces in the back yard, a tree fell, and we had no power for several days.
We had to get dressed and be in court with our son by 9 a.m. without the benefit of power. (More storms were expected later in the day.)
The judge was very stern with our son, basically letting him know that she intended to violate his probation and that she would more than likely be sending him to the prison mental health facility. She gave him several orders that would have to be met.
He was distraught. His long term drug abuse and bi-polar mental health issues were again to blame. By the time we returned home, the reality of his situation had sunk in and he was visibly shaken. I offered him lunch, but he preferred to go downtown to the AA Hut for a meeting. He stated that he would not go back to prison. He would rather kill himself. He just might jump off a building downtown. Reasoning fell on deaf ears. I delivered him to the AA Hut.
I returned home. I called my husband and informed him of the state my son was in. I was distraught. With the power still out, I decided to read. The large window in the den offered the best lighting.
After reading for a short time, I glanced out the window. My eyes recorded what my brain didn’t immediately register; two giant orbs rested in the holly tree. I looked back just to make sure that I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. The orbs were now even more distinct. They now had a soft inner glow and a gentle haze around the edges.
I again turned back to my book, certain that I had lost my mind. These orbs were huge, maybe six and nine feet tall. Quickly I glanced over my shoulder. Still there! Crazy? I’m convinced. I try to read again. No luck.
When I turn back to the window, I am shocked. The objects appear to be giant birdlike creatures. Their heads are tucked under their wings like a bird sits to protect itself in a storm. Now, I am convinced that I have lost my mind.
As I looked down the giant birdlike creatures, I noticed that they had bare human feet. I looked closer and realized that they must be angels. Angels? Yes, angels. Crazy, yes. I’m sure now.
My son calls. I offer to pick him up and inquire if he’s had lunch. It’s a mother thing. He has eaten and he needs to tell me about the man that took him to lunch. I try to convince him that he should come home before the second set of storms hit. No, he will absolutely not come home. He needs to tell me about his lunch and his afternoon.
When my 37-year-old son entered the AA Hut he encountered a man that he had seen in the meetings before, but never really met or talked to. He had seen the man off and on for 14 years. The man introduced himself and said, “Son you are the most upset person that I have ever seen in this building. Can I take you out to lunch? I want to tell you my story. After that, you can tell me your story.”
My son was a little leery, but he was hungry and, what the heck, he planned to jump off a building later anyway. The man continued, “Have you ever meditated?” My son thinks, “Humor him. You’ve tried everything else. How can it hurt? He’s going to feed you.” My son says, “No.”
They walk a couple of blocks and enjoy a nice lunch as the man tells my son his story. The man had been physically and mentally abused in his teens by his own father. He left home the day he graduated from high school. He joined the service the same day and was sent to Viet Nam.
He experienced the horrors of war and the death of several of his close friends. He returned to Birmingham. No jobs were available. There was no home to seek comfort. He experienced the war horrors all over again.
He began to drink—heavily. His life became a nightmare. He contemplated suicide. He finally sought help. He tried church, God, and self.
A man in the church took him aside and taught him to meditate. The man told my son that he feels that meditation and God have slowly but surely changed his life. He wants to teach my son to meditate. My son again thinks, “Humor him; you’ve tried everything else. What can it hurt?”
They walk back to the AA Hut. There is no one there. My son has never seen this before. It’s very quiet. “Son, have you ever meditated before? Do you have a mantra?”
“No. I’ve read about meditation. I’ve read written meditations. But, no, no mantra.”
“Okay, then this is the one we will use: ‘Thy Will be done.’”
The man sits with my son. “Thy Will be done.” “Thy Will be done.”
“This is crazy.” “Thy Will be done.” “Thy Will be done.” “Thy Will be done.” Forty minutes. “Thy Will be done.” “This is crazy.”
“Son, I think you have it. I’m going to leave you on your own for a while.”
“Thy Will be done.”
“Thy Will be done.”
“Thy Will be done.”
“I don’t think this is working, but I’ll keep trying.”
“Thy Will be done.” Twenty minutes pass. “Thy Will be done.”
Physically, my son feels a shift in his body. “Thy Will be done.” Peace settles around him. “Thy Will be done.” He now knows he can handle whatever he faces.
His “angel” has appeared at exactly the same time my angels appeared. My son knows that the judge will revoke his probation, but he knows he can deal with it.
When he gets home, I tell my son my angel story.
My husband returns home. I ask him if the angels are still in the holly tree. No. But as we both look at the holly tree, I realize that there are two distinct circular areas cleared in the tree. I tell my husband the angel story. Is it possible, or am I just plain crazy?
No, I’m sure that the angels were there. I am enveloped in a sense of protection. I feel that the angels, both human and ethereal, served a great purpose that day. I feel the comfort whenever I tell the story and sometimes just in the thought. The openings in the holly tree have begun to close up, but in my heart they will remain.
(Hope Crawford and her husband Eddie are part of the Southeast Region Core Team. She shared this story at our Core Team meeting in late September 2011.)