Writer, editor, stumbler after Jesus

Two men and a truckload of gratitude

If Big Guy A and Big Guy B had arrived on our doorstep—unannounced—under other circumstances, I might have been tempted to hit the panic button. As it was, I welcomed them with relief. And wondered whether, given that Hebrews 13:2 suggests that angels don’t always wear halos and white gowns, they might sport tattoos as our callers did?

Actually, I don’t believe the sentimental notion (and Hollywood staple) that good-hearted humans become angels in the afterlife holds any biblical water. But if ever God initiates some kind of angel conversion process, these two men would be prime candidates.

They arrived within 30 minutes of our panicked call: the original movers we had booked had messed up the reservation and were not coming. It was mid-afternoon, Friday, and we had three hours to be out of the house. A and B had been on their way back to the depot at the end of a busy week when their boss diverted them to help us.

They calmly assured us they could get everything done in time. They didn’t blink when we told them we were going from a one-level home to a three-story townhouse. And then they got down to business, picking up big pieces of furniture like they were nothing and loading their van in the blazing Florida sun.

They pointed out every nick and notch before moving something, so we’d know it wasn’t the result of their carelessness. Then they eased each piece through doorways and hallways with gentle precision. When they’d finished unloading at the other end, they helped us empty another truck filled with boxes that we had loaded the day before.

They smiled, they cracked jokes, and said thanks for the sodas and pizza. They never once complained. Along the way we learned that A had two small boys with autism, while B was a relative newcomer to Florida trying to make a fresh start. They were doing a tough job to make the best of their tough circumstances.

All of which made me feel like a sand-in-my-face weakling as I huffed and puffed around them with my much smaller boxes. And like a prize ingrate as I stressed about the hassle of the move and the personal challenges I was dealing with—by comparison, minor concerns.

From my reading of the Bible, I’m confident that angels exist, and that sometimes we encounter them without realizing it. I also have a suspicion that their earthly activity was greater in the ‘80s, because it would have been easier for them to hide their wings under those boxy jackets with the big shoulders. A bit Miami Vice, though I guess it would really be Miami Virtue.

Be that as it may, if we can miss the unmarred goodness of heavenly beings who have never put a foot wrong, as per that Hebrews verse, how much easier is it to fail to see the positives in those who share our fallen humanity?

A and B reminded me that sometimes it’s only in our need that our eyes are really opened to what’s most true about someone else. Self-sufficiency can cloud our vision.

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