And, Lo, The Angel Did Proclaim….

I was walking out the front doors of Publix when she comes speeding by, a zippy little man pushing the wheelchair for her. I push Rolly over to customer service and ask if they’ll watch my groceries, then made a mad dash after her. That dude was fast! They were already half way through the deli section!

I finally catch up, huffing and puffing as I jog beside them. “Excuse me. Whoo! Trying to catch my breath….I haven’t seen you in a while,” I say to her. The man kept rushing on without losing his quick stride, as if he just let her wheelchair veer off onto the exit ramp while he stayed in the express lane.

She looked at me with a dreary, nearly vacant expression. I quickly took off my backpack and fumbled inside. “I found this. I thought it might keep the cool air off your shoulders.” I handed her the shawl, the expression on her face didn’t change, but the way she limply held it in her hand screamed so much. She fumbled with it a bit, tossed it around in her lap and didn’t say much. Zippy comes scrambling back, “Oh, that’s beautiful! Put it on, Varnay! PUT IT ON!”

I stepped back just a pinch, feeling his over zealousness must have been brought on by too much caffeine…..(wink wink). I don’t know what was in that cup, but he held it tight with a death grip. Oh, and he would NOT stay silent. “Varnay! You should take that up! Give you something to do! Did you make this? DID YOU?”

Lord, looked as if the Angel had a speed demon buzzing around her. Suddenly, he was distracted by something long enough for me to pull out my phone like a gunslinger quick on the draw, and snap a shot of Varnay with the shawl I made her. (See? I told you I’d get the right colors for her top!)

Ol’ Carcker Jack took notice and rushed back and said, “Take a picture with both of us. TAKE ONE!” I did as I was told while he rattled off how we could take social media by storm, “blow it up” with a rambling couple of hashtags he mentioned….but, above all else, I was to make SURE that I use the name he goes by musically when I tag him in the photo…..(I won’t tell you what it is, it wouldn’t matter).

Like some gnat, he kept gnashing around as he darted through the store, bouncing into shopping carts, unable to stay at rest. Finally, he just fluttered on like a hummingbird leaving Varnay and I alone.

She looked at the shawl, then looked at me and said, “I’ve just got too much stuff already.”

I didn’t say anything. But, these big brown eyes just can’t lie. I must have looked a little sad. She continued, “But, I’ll happily bless someone else with it.”

I smiled, gave her my last five dollars, said, “Well, take care….” and walked on home.

I mused over the moment in my mind as I crossed Lake Eola, walked by the numbers of other homeless in the park; some sleeping close to catatonic, some strolling towards places unknown. And I just started laughing! I couldn’t help it! Any onlooker would have totally pegged for me street credible crazy.

All that time in prayer, making a shawl for a woman I had come to call The Angel, making her a shawl that I hoped she would cling to with care. And, lo, The Angel did proclaim, “I’ve got too much stuff already…,” (and all said with a jacked up jackal jumping around behind her).

I am no way sad over the situation, as a matter of fact, I find it hilarious. These are not mythical, mystical creatures. They are people. Broken, stolen, battered, trashed and tossed people.

That shawl of mine could end up in the trash by the end of today and it wouldn’t ruin the experience for nothing. It really wouldn’t. I enjoyed the whole couple of weeks with a rejuvenating blast to the spirit. I wrote beautifully (yes, I need to credit myself more), I prayed in a contemplative way that I had never done before (looking forward to that again), and found a peace that I yearn to return to.

As a matter of fact, I have nearly a full skein of that same yarn and I’m ready to make another shawl. Who knows what will happen with this one? It doesn’t matter. It will be made with the same prayer I put into that first one, no matter what happens to it.

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  1. This brings sweet tears to my eyes. Varnay. The angel’s name is Varnay. I notice that the shawl perfectly matches her outfit. God is extraordinary. Thank you for being such an angel Gregory. My guess is that she will keep the shawl. Maybe one day you will help her “take that up.” Maybe it will take her up out of homelessness. God bless you. You are wonderfully made in God’s image.

  2. Regardless of the outcome with angel and her “Cracker Jack Friend” the story that you wove about her and you making the shawl, captivated thousands of readers besides me. I re-read this post and thought of past “treasures” I had put my heart and soul into, only to receive a glib reply with the recipient showing no thought, that the item was part of me, transferred to them. Perhaps Varney will “RE GIFT” the shawl and the recipient will feel all the love and prayers you put into each stitch. I ponder on Varney as I keep crocheting the Queen size Afghan for Jim who only recently re-appeared into my life. Things were so different for me 25 years ago. I know I have changed for the better but he has not. I only hope he will at least compensate me for the cost of the yarn. I keep thinking I should have waited till he paid me the deposit before going hog-wild and ordering $175.00 worth of yarn. If not I will probably laugh too and perhaps find another “Varney” in the Wall Mart parking lot asking for a buck! God Bless you Patrick. You are a treasure and inspire me with every post you write. Hugs, Tobias…Eloy AZ

  3. What a beautiful woman Varney is- to want to re-gift a shawl she does not need.
    Her honesty is to be commended.

    Your story is one of kindness and compassion, unchanged by whatever becomes of the shawl.

    Well done. On so many levels. Well done.

  4. You were so right regarding these colors for her. The gift was perfect. I hope she passes it on to someone who will cherish it. You have made a gift in its truest sense. We had the gift of your story.

  5. You did what you were led to do friend that is all that matters. We don’t always know why but good will come from doing what you are led to do, I promise. HUGS TO YOU!

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