“All God’s angels come to us disguised”
- James Russell Lowell
Our minds were reeling. We had just met with the oncologist at the hospital. Cancer. It was definite. Surgery was imminent. There seemed so much to digest, so many questions, so many unknowns. As my husband and I contemplated what lay before us, we needed some time before we faced our family. We tried desperately to fathom what God’s divine plan might be. How could He allow this to happen? How could I have cancer?
“Why don’t we get some lunch? My husband suggested. “Timmies?”
I agreed. A Tim Hortons coffee shop in the big city where no one knew us sounded like a good place to go. We could grab some lunch, talk, and prepare ourselves before we met with our family. We drove down the busy city street and pulled into the entrance of the first Tim Hortons we saw.
I looked for an empty table while my husband got the order. There was a vacant spot by a window. As I headed for the table, I caught the eye of a grayish-haired woman, probably in her early sixties, seated in the corner. She smiled and nodded at me. I returned the greeting.
I sat down and gazed out the window. I thought about my cancer diagnosis and my impending surgery. The tears swelled. My husband sat down with the food and gave thanks.
No sooner had we said Amen then the woman came over to me and placed a hand gently on my shoulder. I looked at her.
“I have something I think you need right now”, the stranger said.
She pulled a green piece of paper from her jacket pocket. She smiled and I felt a strange warmness.
I quietly took the paper from her outstretched hand.
Both my husband and I read the four-stanza poem on the paper. Our eyes brimmed as we read the final lines:
I asked for happiness for you, In all things great and small, But it was for His loving care, I prayed the most of all…
I turned around to thank her for her incredible timing. I wanted to thank her for sensing my sadness and for being so compassionate. I Wanted to tell her about my cancer. But she was gone. I searched the sea of faces at the counter. I looked at the doorway. She was nowhere to be found.
God worked in a magnificent way that day. He placed a perfect stranger in our path to let us know that all would be well and that we were assured of His loving care. God’s love washed over us in that moment and we felt the glorious peace that passes all understanding.
“An angel?” I said to my husband through tear-filled eyes.
“A Tim Hortons angel”. He smiled, and took a sip of his double-double.
- Glynis M. Belec