6/11/14

Rubbing shoulders with angels.

Yesterday was a pretty tough day. I was in a bad mood and discouraged about some news I had received. At work, it was all I could do to smile at the golfers as they came to the snack bar window. In all reality, I was in a self-pitying mode. "Ah! Poor me! Why me!"

At around 11:30 last night, I made a last second decision to fill up my car. (Last minute because my gas light came on.) I trudged inside the gas station, paid in cash, then started filling up. I grabbed the windshield cleaner and started cleaning my windows. It felt good to be doing something so menial and so easy. "Cleaning my windshields...I can do that. I don't have to smile to do that."

As I rounded my car to wash the front windshield, I saw a girl approaching me. Half her head was shaved and dyed pink. She had a big tattoo on her back and shoulders which was visible through her tank top. Her make up was bleary and smeared and she smelled faintly of cigarette smoke. When I saw her coming, I immediately thought, "NO! I don't want to give you money. Go away. Leave me alone. Go ask someone else." But her eyes stopped me. There was something about her eyes--they were big and full of pain.

"Excuse me. I'm really sorry, but could you please help me? My boyfriend is abusive and he just beat me up and kicked me out. I'm looking for a ride to Orem. Could you please take me?" (My mom and dad are going to kill me when they read this.) I stared at her for a good ten seconds, contemplating. Horror stories of hitchhikers flashed through my head. Guns. Drugs. Knives. It all went through my mind. But then I heard the words, "Sure, as long as I'm just dropping you off and nothing else" come out of my mouth. What?! No. No no no. Rach, why did you just say that?! I mumbled something about needing to finish cleaning my windshield and that then we could go. She emphatically thanked me, then asked what my name was. "Rachel." "Hi, I'm Alicia."

So, a little bit nervously, I climbed into my car with a perfect stranger who obviously lived a very different lifestyle than my own. Now, when I get nervous, I talk a lot. On my mission, I honed that talking into asking questions. So that's what I did. I asked her a whole bunch of questions. She told me the basics, where she was from, her age, etc. She asked about me. I told her that I was attending school at BYU. I asked if she was in school. "No. I got in a car accident when I was sixteen and lost my memory so I had to drop out of school." I turned and looked at her. She was facing the road, her bangs partially obscuring her face. She pushed them back and looked at me with a small smile. "My grandpa gave me a blessing right after the accident. I had pretty much broken every bone in my body and they pronounced me dead on the scene. After the blessing, they took me into the hospital. I didn't have broken bones anymore."

Silence. I didn't even expect her to mention the priesthood and blessings. She continued, "That's why I have wings tattooed on my back." She turned and showed me. "Because I believe in angels. I had angels save my life." I stared at her, my mouth a little bit agape, then turned back to the road. "Through the priesthood, huh? Angels and the priesthood." I said quietly. She nodded her head in agreement.

I don't remember too much more of the conversation we had before I dropped her off at her friend's house. On my drive back to my apartment, I was overwhelmed as I thought about my life. Ya, I've had some hard experiences and yesterday was no exception. But this girl, Alicia, she had a very hard experience, and she came out of it with faith in angels. As I thought about it more, I realized that's what Alicia was. An angel. She came at a time when I needed to be reminded of God's love for His children, ALL of His children. I needed to be reminded about the miraculous power of the priesthood, and about having faith in that priesthood.

Long story short: last night I rubbed shoulders with an angel, and she even had wings.