The self-help field seems to be a magnet for weirdos.
Seriously. And I’m not talking about the clients.
I’m talking about the teachers.
There are teachers who talk to animals.
To tea leaves.
To dreams, clouds.
I’ve always been more from the practical side of the self-help genre.
Maybe it’s because of my degree in science.
Or my early disillusionment with organized religion.
I tend to have an irreverent take on the woo-woo bullshit. (That said - I majorly contradict myself with my open and loyal love of a woman who channels alien entities known under a collective name of Abraham. But that’s a different story.)
Years ago, one of my early teachers was on stage speaking about the angels that were on stage near her. Relaying their message to the crowd.
My heart sank. Give me a break. Is it that hard to come up with material? Is it that difficult to stand behind your own teachings? Why blame it on the angels?
I leaned over to my friend and whispered with a snarky eye-roll, “If I ever say that I see an angel. It’s because I really see a fuckin’ angel. So either lock me up - or frickin listen to what that angel has to say.”
Which brings me to today.
I saw a fuckin’ angel.
Not only did a see one.
I talked to him.
And he gave me a gift.
Let me back up a bit.
I’ve been working intently on some new tools for my December classes. Typically, I design my classes ahead of time, implement the tools into my own life. Then, tweak and fine-tune them as needed before I teach them to the Rowdies. December’s theme is Grace vs. Force. It’s about creating more results with less effort. And tomorrow’s class applies these tools to money and earning. Specifically how to earn more with less effort.
This morning, I took the tools with me on my run. Mulling them over in my head. Poking holes anywhere I could find them. The latest Rowdy Playlist blasting in my ears.
My legs were sore this morning right from the start. Stiff. I was working through the tools in my mind and applying them to my sore muscles. Watching my mind want to stop running and walk instead. Watching my mind question whether I should be running in the first place. Is this Grace? Is this Force?
Up ahead, I see a very old man walking toward me on the sidewalk. (A common site outside the local assisted living complex. Not your typical indication-of-an-angel-sighting.)
Getting closer, I could see his eyes get really big. Eyebrows raised. As I ran past him he started to beat his chest with his right arm. Desperately. Eyes even bigger. His mouth was moving. Saying something.
He’s having a heart attack.
I tear my earphones out of my ear and freeze. Heart beating from my run and from the fear that something bad is happening to him. And that I am supposed to help him. Feeling completely ill-equipped and amazed that this would be happening.
I hear the last part of his sentence.
“What?!” I say. Trying to convey how completely deaf I was due to the earphones - pointing to them dangling.
“I’m a runner, too.” Fist beating his heart. And I see the round patch beneath his fist. Yellow and black. Looks like it’s been hand-sewn onto the chest of many-a-jacket.
Boston Marathon Finalist. 1979.
“This was way before you were born, though. I used to be really fast. Then not so fast. But I did 13 marathons after I was 58. Loved to run.”
The impact of his words. “I’m a runner, too.” He thinks I’m a runner. It felt like a guilty punch in the gut. Something that I couldn’t take credit for.
“Oh gosh. I’m not a runner. I’m just picking it back up.”
“Yes you are. I saw you running. You were smiling. You’re a runner. How old are you?”
I told him. He very sweetly said he would have never guessed. He said he thought I was one of the college kids. (God bless him.)
“You should do a marathon sometime.
Here. This is for you.”
He shoved his hand in his pocket and pulled out a coin. Just like a grandpa would. Giving a kid a coin to go buy a lollipop.
“This is for luck. And to remind you to keep running.”
I wrapped my fingers around it and closed my eyes in gratitude.
“What’s your name?” I told him.
“Well, that’s an interesting name. Never heard that one before.”
“Get back to it. I’ll see you out there sometime.”
I said goodbye and clutched my gold coin.
And I ran.
Grateful that I could.
Knowing that he was watching and happy for me.
Grateful that I can do this thing with my body right now.
And not only that I *can* do it - but that I *am* doing it.
Feeling the beautiful responsibility of going out and actually doing the things that I can do.
Not only physically.
Mentally. Spiritually. Emotionally. Financially.
With my career.
With my heart.
With my life.
And even though my muscles were still sore.
I could feel the Grace.
The sense of joy.
The careful idea of allowing myself to think I’m a runner.
Or anything else that I want to be.
And that it’s ok to want it. To be it.
Grateful that I saw a fuckin’ angel.
And that he answered my questions.
And that he gave me a gift.