Angels Never Say “Hello!”

Angels Never Say “Hello!”

From A 2nd Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul

Angels Never Say “Hello!”

My grandma told me about angels. She said they come knocking at the door of our hearts, trying to deliver a message to us. I saw them in my mind’s eye with a big mail sack slung between their wings and a post office cap set jauntily on their head. I wondered if the stamps on their letters said “Heaven Express.”

“No use waiting for the angel to open your door,” Grandma explained. “You see, there is only one door handle on the door of your heart. Only one bolt. They are on the inside. Your side. You must listen for the angel, throw open the lock and open up that door!”

I loved the story and asked her again and again to tell me, “What does the angel do then?”

“The angel never says ‘hello.’ You reach out and take the message, and the angel gives you your instructions: ‘Arise and go forth!’ Then the angel flies away. It is your responsibility to take action.”

When I am interviewed by the media, I am often asked how I have built several international businesses without any college education, beginning my business on foot, pushing my two children before me in a dilapidated baby stroller with a wheel that kept coming off.

First I tell the interviewers that I read at least six books a week, and have done so since I was able to read. I hear the voices of all the great achievers in their books.

Next, I explain that every time I hear an angel knock, I just fling open the door. The angel’s messages are about new business ideas, books to write and wonderful solutions to problems in my career and personal life. They come very often, in a never-ending flow, a river of ideas.

However, there was one time when the knocking stopped. It happened when my daughter, Lilly, was badly hurt in an accident. She was riding on the back of a forklift her father rented to move some hay for our horses. Lilly and two of the neighbor children begged him to let them ride on the forklift when he took it back to the rental place.

Going down a little hill, the steering gear broke. Her father almost pulled his arms out of their sockets trying to hold the big rig on the road before it turned over. The little neighbor girl broke her arm. Lilly’s father was knocked unconscious. Lilly was pinned underneath, with the huge weight of the rig on her left hand. Gasoline spilled on her thigh. Gasoline burns, even if it is not ignited. The neighbor boy was unhurt and kept his wits. He ran out and stopped traffic.

We rushed Lilly to Orthopedic Hospital where they began a long series of operations, each time amputating more of her hand. They told me that when a human limb is cut off, sometimes it can be sewn back on, but not if it is smashed and crushed.

Lilly had just started piano lessons. Because I am a writer, I had looked forward with great anticipation to her taking typing lessons the next year.

During this time I often drove off by myself to cry, not wanting others to see me. I couldn’t stop. I found I did not have the concentration to read anything. No angels knocked. There was a heavy silence in my heart. I kept thinking of all the things Lilly would never do because of this terrible accident.

When we took her back to the hospital for the eighth amputation, my spirit was very low. I kept thinking over and over, “She will never type! Never type. Never type.”

We set her bag down in the hospital room and suddenly turned around because a young teenage girl in the next bed said to us in a commanding voice: “I’ve been waiting for you! You go down the hall right now, third room on the left! There is a boy there who was hurt in a motorcycle accident. You go down there and lift up his spirit, right now!”

She had the voice of a field marshal. We immediately obeyed her. We talked to the boy and encouraged him, and then came back to Lilly’s hospital room.

For the first time I noticed that this unusual girl was bent way over. “Who are you?” I asked.

“My name is Tony Daniels,” she grinned. “I go to the handicapped high school. This time the doctors are going to make me a whole inch taller! You see, I had polio. I have had many operations.”

She had the charisma and strength of a General Schwartzkopf. I couldn’t help the words that came flying out of my mouth. I gasped, “But you aren’t handicapped!”

“Oh, yes, you are right,” she replied, looking sideways at me. “They teach us down at our school that we are never handicapped as long as we can help someone else. Now, if you met my schoolmate who teaches the typing class, you might think she is handicapped because she was born with no arms and no legs. But she helps all of us by teaching us typing, with a wand between her teeth.”

Ka bang! Suddenly I heard it—the clanging noise of pounding and kicking and yelling at the door of my heart!

I ran out of the room and down the corridor to find a pay phone. I called IBM and asked for the office manager. I told him my little girl had lost nearly all of her left hand, and asked him if they had one-hand touch-typing charts.

He replied, “Yes, we do! We have charts for the right hand, the left hand, charts that show how to use your feet with pedals, and even to type with a wand between your teeth. The charts are free. Where would you like me to send them?”

When we were finally able to take Lilly back to school, I took the one-hand typing charts with me. Her hand and arm were still in a cast with big bandages around it. I asked the school principal if Lilly could take typing, even though she was too young, instead of gym. He told me it had never been done before, and that perhaps the typing teacher would not want to go to the extra trouble, but I could ask him if I wanted to.

When I stepped into the typing class I noticed immediately that all around the room were signs with quotations from Florence Nightingale, Ben Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Winston Churchill. I took a deep breath, realizing I was in the right place. The teacher said he had never taught one-hand typing before but that he would work with Lilly every lunch period. “We will learn one-hand touch-typing together.”

Soon Lilly touch-typed all of her homework for her English class. Her English teacher that year was a polio victim. His right arm hung helplessly by his side. He scolded her, “Your mother is babying you, Lilly. You have a good right hand. You do your own homework.”

“Oh, no sir.” She smiled at him. “I’m up to 50 words a minute one-handed in my touch-typing. I have the one-hand IBM charts!”

The English teacher sat down suddenly. Then he said slowly, “Being able to type has always been my dream.”

“Come on over during lunch time. The back of my charts have the other hand. I’ll teach you!” Lilly told him.

It was after the first lunch-time lesson that she came home and said, “Mama, Tony Daniels was right. I’m not handicapped anymore, because I am helping someone else fulfill his dream.”

Today, Lilly is the author of two internationally acclaimed books. She has taught all of our office staff to use our Apple computers with our mouse pad on the left side, because that is where she makes hers fly around with her remaining finger and the stump of her thumb.

Shush. Listen! Do you hear the knocking? Throw the bolt! Open the door! Please think of me and remember: Angels never say “hello.” Their greeting is always “Arise and go forth!”

Dottie Walters

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