You Never Know When You May Be Acting As A Human AngelYesterday I made the long trip back home to San Francisco from Costa Rica, and after all the transfers and the guy next to me on the plane stealing my pillow and snorting up a storm … I was feeling particularly impatient when my bags were delayed about 45 minutes at the baggage claim. They would release some bags and then there would be a long delay before the next set was released. Two entire sets of luggage had come and gone with no sign of either of my bags. Eventually one of my two checked bags emerged, but it felt like it was taking FOREVER for the final bag to emerge from the chute and begin its circle around the carousel. My stomach was unsettled, my eyes bloodshot and sore, and I just wanted to get home. I felt impatient and annoyed.
In the meantime, I noticed an elderly woman standing next to me at the carousel. I noticed her because she was so tiny. Probably a foot shorter than I am, maybe 4’5″ or so, and maybe weighing only 70 or 80 pounds. I was thinking about how she must be descended from one of the ancient tribes like the Mayans, and how strange it seems now that entire races of human beings were so short.
As I waited for my final bag, still really annoyed and even more annoyed when a man I didn’t know came up behind me and grabbed my arm. He was trying to be friendly but it felt really uncomfortable that he did not understand the basics of personal space. He then started asking me a bunch of personal questions that I did not feel like answering. And my impatience continued to grow.
Then something tiny happened that changed my perspective entirely in an instant. This miniature woman spotted her first bag coming around the carousel. The problem? Her bag was huge and wedged in between several other bags on a carousel that had a very high rim. I saw her reach her tiny body into the carousel and struggle with her bag, failing to extricate it as it blew past her. None of the men in our vicinity seemed to notice. Immediately I felt my heart open with compassion.
“Do you need help?” I asked quickly and then instinctively reached for her bag. Even for me, it was heavy and awkward, and I felt grateful for the Pilates and yoga core training that I do. I was able to get it off the carousel and onto her baggage cart. She did not seem to know any English, but she smiled with gratitude.
A few minutes later, my last bag still had not arrived, but her second bag came around the carousel. This time her bag was lodged above another bag. This woman would have had to get onto the carousel to have any chance of retrieving it. And again, she reached for the suitcase handle but was unable to move it even an inch.
“Here, I’ll help you,” I said. And I leaned way out over the carousel, engaged all my abdominal muscles and managed to get that one onto her cart as well. A tiny 4’5″ woman with no Pilates training had exactly zero chance of retrieving that bag. She mumbled something I could not hear and smiled again with gratitude.
A minute later, my last bag arrived. All of my impatience had disappeared. It was obvious to me that my bags had been delayed so that I could be a human angel for this woman. And I thought back to some of the times in my life when a stranger or a friend had unexpectedly been an angel for me. I felt grateful to be of service, even if in a small way.
Nothing in life happens by accident. Every encounter we have is an opportunity to learn something, to grow, to be of service. We may not always understand how exactly we are serving the Universe by our presence in any given situation. I guarantee there have been thousands of times in your life that you were a Human Angel without even realizing it.
To help keep this perspective at the forefront of my mind, I often repeat when I notice myself impatient and annoyed this mantra from A Course in Miracles:
“Today I will judge nothing that occurs.”
Erika Awakening, High Priestess of Miracles at TAPsmarter