Unlikely angels #1000speak

white rose

Four days after my son was attacked and left in a coma in a hospital over a hundred miles away, we had a major water leak. It was our second trip home to bathe, change and comfort the rest of the family, and the leak was the last thing we needed. I had all but screamed down the phone to get help, desperate to get away, back on the road south. By the time there was a knock on the door, I was wound as tight as a spring.

The plumber was huge, a veritable giant of a man… a Rastafarian, who seemed to fill the entire doorway. He came in and set to work lifting floorboards. It would not be a quick job. I sat at the computer, trying to update everyone who was seeking news…and there were many. Messages, prayers and kindness were pouring in from all over the world…and kindness is guaranteed to open the floodgates when you are overwrought. I burst into tears.

Looking up from his work, the plumber said that he did not wish to intrude, but… My then-partner gave him a terse run-down of events. My son was dying. The plumber sat back on his heels and thought for a moment. I cannot remember all of what he said, but I wrote later that day, “… he gave such words of loving comfort… and he is the only one who has said that I don’t need to pray for Nick, as he is closer to God now than I am and can follow His plan for himself, but that I should pray for the 17 year old who wielded the screwdriver, who has a lifetime and more to regret this. I won’t ask why he, of all the plumbers out there, was sent, but will just thank Those who sent him.”

Many had been asking about the perpetrator, some already seething with a desire for vengeance…or at least justice. The plumber was the first to speak of forgiveness.

Friends had been waiting for my anger… concerned that it did not come. I would get angry later, at bureaucracy, at incompetence, at laws inadequate for need… but I had no space for the anger of blame, no desire for revenge; I could only imagine how his mother must feel. My sons were suffering… what good would anger do? It would not make anything better… the surgeons and doctors had done all they could. Nick’s fate was now in the hands of a higher authority and that of his own will to live. The plumber’s was the first voice of true compassion I had heard. The first who had looked beyond the acute damage to the wider picture of hurt.

His words were a clear and sparkling stream cutting through the morass of emotions and allowing me to see clearer. I did not need to conform to anyone’s expectations of anger… did not need to scream for revenge. The Law would deal with the perpetrator, not I, nor those who, in their own grief and anger offered to find a way. The voice of compassion cleared the air and allowed me to breathe.

I call it compassion, and forgiveness, but there is another name for what is behind them. A name for what my Rastafarian plumber brought into the house that day with a purity I have seldom encountered elsewhere and a joy that shone from his parting smile.

A couple of weeks later, he would come back, knocking on the door for news. Then a few months later, leaving me his phone number and texting occasionally to see how things were. A total stranger whose necessary presence I had initially resented… a Samaritan… an unlikely angel… had brought Love into my home.

84 thoughts on “Unlikely angels #1000speak

  1. This brought me to tears. I am always amazed by the kindness of strangers, of unstrangers as I like to say. And your son has come so far! I am always pleased when you write of him. Him and Ani, two special people dear to my heart as are you. I am so glad this special person was sent to you, just when you needed it most.

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  2. Beautiful recount and the plumber’s reaction is so right. Revenge only keeps you in the misery of hatred while forgiveness and compassion free you. So glad that this is a thing of the past. Be well

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  3. Well, I am of course very familiar with the situation through your passionate writing…but even so, I want to cry over this one. Love n Light

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  4. Lovely story, Sue.
    I find it upsetting when so many people on Facebook voice their desire to do something vicious to those who abuse animals. I understand where they’re coming from but such emotional violence is not the energy which will help the situation. What a wise and compassionate plumber.

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  5. Ever since I read yours and Nicks story I’ve wondered… If I were in Sue’s shoes..? How would I react? Who would it be that took you out of the immediate and gave a moment of perspective? We all need our Rastas ; let’s hope they are there when I need them.

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    1. I used to wonder too, hearing other people’s stories. I know now… you just take one step at a time, like walking through thick fog. But you keep walking. That Rasta was such a joy, right moment, right words… and gave me something I doubt I can even name.

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  6. What an uplifting story, Sue, as you say, he must have been sent especially that day. Comfort comes from the most unlikely of places, and he was just what you needed at that time. How lovely that he continued to stay in touch too,:-)

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  7. Strange things happen in the most unexpected places and from the most unusual sources, Sue. I’m not religious, as you know, but he was right where he needed to be at just the right time. Makes you think…

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  8. There are truly angels among us Sue. A beautiful story as always. And, arg, I’m still finding your blogs through reblogs on our circuit of bloggers. Darned WordPress, no notifications as of yet from you.😦

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      1. Arg, don’t get me started. I just discovered my blog is no longer ‘mobile friendly’. All was fine a few weeks ago. I’m so tired of technical stuff interrupting my writing life.😦

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  9. Wonderful story! It can be hard not to fall in with the expectations of others, and also to see the hurt that happens to those who commit violence instead of only the hurt done to those they harm. Hugs!

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  10. Miracles happen when there is someone there to facilitate it and someone there to receive it. This story is heartfully written (I know heartfully is not a word, but it seems to fit). Rastafarian was the messenger and your heart was open to hear and embrace the message. Compassion at its best. Thank you for sharing this story.

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  11. Sue, I spotted your face on the linky and thought you would probably write about Nick and what had happened. The story of your plumber resonates with me. I had just been told that the auto-immune disease was attacking my lungs and they couldn’t tell me what that meant other than you need to see a lung specialist. I walked out shattered but worse still, I knew I had to go and tell my husband and parents the bad news. It could well have meant I was looking at 12 months or even less to live if it was aggressive or it could be inactive and a non-event. The hospital volunteers are called the Pink Ladies and they have a shop as well as going round the wards selling bits and pieces and having a chat. Anyway, I was buying something in their shop and burst into tears and this lady held my hand and I don’t think I’ve ever felt such love. I do believe it was a touch from God. I wrote about it and a few other experiences 3 years ago: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/the-love-of-a-stranger/
    After being through all of my stuff, I do sense things and I don’t know if I have been that stranger to others but I hope so. I know how devastated I’ve been at certain stages and how lonely that can be even surrounded by family etc. You can feel you need to be strong to be there for them but you can just flop with a stranger.
    I recently picked out some details from someone’s blog and was concerned their child wasn’t well and they hadn’t mentioned it on the blog but after much soul searching, I contacted her. That went well and she has been monitoring things but just hadn’t gone public about it. She was pleased I said something and I hope it helped.
    My experience has been quite different to Nick’s as I developed health issues, It wasn’t caused by someone else. My post was above Forgiving the Unforgivable. How are you supposed to deal with anger and hurt towards a disease without a face? https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2016/01/22/forgiving-the-unforgivable/
    I am really enjoying reading all these posts and once again, time has run away.
    Hope you have a great weekend!
    xx Rowena

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  12. The world sometimes finds odd ways to help us in times like this – what an awful situation for anyone to have gone through – but what a blessing that THAT was the plumber who came to your door at that time. Thank you so much for sharing this.

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  13. I think the thing which struck me most was how the plumber’s compassion gave you the freedom to respond to the tragedy in your own way, without the need to conform to anyone’s expectations for how to manage your shock and grief. That’s wonderful, and thank goodness you were sent this angel at such a right time. Thank you for sharing this very intimate part of your story.

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    1. He wasn’t the only one on this journey, Lizzi, but he was right on cue and a true blessing. In the confusion of those days of extreme emotion, everyone has their own expectation of how you will react… he gave me the space and inner freedom to act instead.

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      1. I think that you were mindful enough to see the opportunity and take it, also speaks volumes🙂 I was reading earlier today about stepping back from emotions in order to act with a clear head, with more of an idea about what will be most fitting. I confess I tend to spend far more time reacting than acting…

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      2. We all react rather than acting, most of the time. It is how we have learned to live in the world and probably has it roots in the survival instinct. Learning to step back and not be ruled by an emotional response, without suppressing emotion or becoming detached is not the world’s easiest challenge🙂

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      3. No, but it seems to be one worth trying to master. I’ll keep attempting my small moments of mindfulness. I find gratitude helps – if I can find something to be thankful about in a bad situation, that usually helps me re-frame🙂

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      4. There is almost always some good to be found, even in the worst situations..or the knowledge that if you can’t find it now, there will come a time when what you have been through will help someone…if only because you can hug them with real empathy.

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