31: The Green Signal

31: The Green Signal

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles

The Green Signal

The magnitude of life is overwhelming. Angels are here to help us take it peace by peace.

~Levende Waters

It was an uphill walk as I pushed the pram along in a daze. I blinked with sheer exhaustion. I couldn’t remember when I had last enjoyed a whole night’s sleep. It was so strange that it was deemed normal for new mums of small babies to have sleepless nights. I had lost count of the number of times I had been told by well-meaning people that these were the golden days of my life and I should be grateful for them. Feeling tired all the time didn’t leave any space for feeling grateful. What was wrong with me?

My baby was asleep in the pram and I glanced down to see if the bags of vegetables and sundry groceries were secure. I hoped I hadn’t forgotten anything. I couldn’t go through this uphill climb again, twice in the same day.

It was getting windy again and I could feel sharp droplets of rain as I pushed my hair off my face impatiently. I struggled to pull the rain cover back on the pram, as the gusts of wind were making it tougher. I knelt down to secure the flap of the rain cover. I peered through the hazy plastic of the shield and saw that he was still asleep, his fists tightly closed. I felt an aching tenderness for him and tears stung my eyes. I brushed them away, feeling angry with myself. A flap pulled off as a sharp wind picked up again. I grabbed the hook of the flap and fastened it quickly. It would never do to let the rain go into the pram. He was just recovering from a nasty cold and cough; it wouldn’t do at all if he caught it again.

Satisfied that the rain cover stayed, I straightened up and resumed pushing the pram along the uphill footpath. There was a couple walking ahead who stopped at the pedestrian signal. I stopped and rubbed my eyes in confusion. I definitely needed a cup of hot tea when I reached home. I didn’t think I would clear up the mess in the living room today. If he continued sleeping, maybe I could try to catch a quick nap. I wished I could just sleep for a whole day, maybe two days, maybe forever . . . I felt a tap on my shoulder.

“You can cross now, dear. The signal has turned green.”

I blinked and turned to see an elderly lady smiling at me. Yes, the signal had turned green and was now turning red again. I had been lost in thought and missed it. I could see the couple ahead in the distance, they had crossed on time. I felt close to tears. This was definitely an overreaction. What was wrong with me? Was I losing my mind slowly?

I felt the lady’s gaze on me as I turned back to her, feeling weary and lost. She was clad in a warm lime green duffel coat, a woollen hat covering her grey hair, her kind eyes crinkling at the corners as she stared at me, questioningly. She gazed intently at me and then looked at the pram.

“Lovely baby you have there,” she said, smiling. Her voice was cool and calm like a softly flowing river. I grinned back faintly. Just as I was about to thank her and start walking again, she nodded her head and said very gently, “It will all get better. I know how tough it can be. I have been there. Believe me, it all gets better. Just hang in there, love.”

And with that, she smiled at me once again and walked off. I stood still, staring after her. The wind lessened. A kind of calm stillness took its place.

It was like a great weight had just been lifted from my shoulders. I felt something like . . . dare I call it hope? I began to cross the road with my pram as the signal turned green. “You can cross now. The signal has turned green.” Her words echoed in my mind. I realised their significance now.

It was like she knew. She had read my mind and knew my despair. It was like an angel stepping in and holding my hand. Just in time.

Sometimes that is all it really takes. In life’s daily paths, we suddenly come across a kind word from someone who understands. I believe angels connect to us through real people, right on this earth, who are different from others in the most important way . . . they possess kindness and empathy. They see beyond themselves and care enough to stop and help.

My angel turned out to be right. It did get better. I had postnatal depression, which slowly wore off. Life returned to normal. I began to live again, cherishing the joy of being a mum to two such lovely kids. I never forgot my angel. She created the turning point. She helped me find the ray of hope at a time when all I could see was the endless dark tunnel. When all else fails, when we feel we are at the rock bottom level of anguish, I believe our lives can get touched by angels. A miracle can happen. The signal can turn green after all.

~Roopa Banerjee

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