26: Angels Unaware

26: Angels Unaware

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and More

Angels Unaware

Home, the blessed word which opens to the human heart the most perfect glimpse of Heaven, and helps to carry it thither, as on an angel’s wings.

~Lydia M. Child

Our family has lived all over the world. We’ve moved from Tennessee to Africa, Indiana to Australia, and it was in New South Wales, Australia, where a miracle took place that changed my house-hunting strategy forever.

It started one morning with a knock on my front door. It was our landlord announcing that we needed to move out in two weeks. He wanted the house back for himself. That evening, we gathered our children around the table and told them, “Tomorrow morning, Mommy will start looking for a new home for us.”

It was a job I hated — hours of driving around in the heat, up and down streets, talking to real estate agents, inspecting one home after another, and dealing with disappointments. Two weeks? How could we find a new home and make a move that quickly? I felt it was time to pray.

I once heard a religious leader advocate that when you desperately want something from God, you must be specific in your prayers. I wondered if it would actually work. So on the eve before I started looking for yet another home, I knelt in front of my sofa and started to write.

Number One on the list, I wrote, “Granny Flat.” We were expecting our grandma and poppa to arrive soon for an extended visit. We could certainly use the extra room.

Number Two on the list was a workshop. My husband was Chief Woodworker Extraordinaire. We desperately needed space to stockpile his collection of tools, random stacks of wood, and current projects.

Number Three on the list was for me. I had recently returned from a weeklong visit to the beautiful Blue Mountains. I came home wishing it were possible to walk outside any time of day and lift my eyes to the mountains in the distance.

Number Four on my prayer list was just one word: LIGHT. Our current house was spacious, but the rooms were dark and gloomy, and the windows were covered with blinds and heavy drapes. I found myself praying for a new home where light would come streaming into every room.

And then I paused. I knew I could go on and on with a more specific list, but aiming to sum things up, I very simply made one last petition. “And please, please,” I prayed, “give us a home where the angels are encamped around us.”

The real estate agent arrived early the following day. He drove me through two neighborhoods, showing me houses that were too big, too small, or too costly. The third stop was at Number 10 William Street, near the top of a hill in the heart of beautiful St. Mary’s. As soon as we pulled into the driveway and turned off the engine, the agent realized he had left the key to the front door back in his office. So he walked around the back to see if the laundry might be open, and he motioned for me to come that way.

Walking past the garage, I noticed there was an attached extension in the rear.

“That’s a Granny Flat,” he told me. “Self-contained kitchenette, living room, and one small bedroom.”

Beyond the Granny Flat, in the corner of the property, was yet another small building. “That’s a workroom… tool shed… whatever,” he mumbled.

Turning to enter through the back door, we passed a revolving clothesline in the center of the back yard. And standing just underneath where one might peg laundry in the breeze, I could see the misty, familiar haze of the stunning Blue Mountains in the distance.

Yes, the back door was open. We tiptoed through the small laundry in the rear and entered into a long, bright hallway. There were windows from one end to the other. Sunshine seemed to be pouring in from everywhere, and with it came a peace that perhaps, just perhaps, this was going to be our new home.

After viewing the rooms and the small but adequate kitchen, we left through the front door and headed back to the car. A neighbor was watering her garden on the other side of the fence; her daughter was dancing in the grass nearby. She gave a nod of hello to the agent, and he led me in their direction.

“Just bringing a lady to look through the house,” he called out. And with no further introduction, he made a gesture toward the next-door neighbors and whispered to me, “Those are the Angels.”

And indeed they were — Mrs. Bubs Angel and her dancing daughter, Debbie. And throughout the years that we lived at 10 William Street, they were nannies to our children, friends at tea time, gardeners in time of need, and a constant source of music, both through our kitchen window and, more importantly, in our hearts.

~Charlotte A. Lanham

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