Life can be really tough at times. All of us have experienced the little hills and valleys of life that pop up on a daily basis. We deal with them and just keep going. But, at times, life puts a raging storm in our paths without warning or mercy.
In my lifetime, I have had my share of category 5 life storms. Two of these storms were a horrific wreck my mother had and my daddy’s suicide. These kinds of life-changing events leave wounds that don’t heal easily but, when they do, always leave a scar as a reminder. I’ve heard that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, but sometimes I wonder.
It is at these times that we have to dig deep for the courage to handle the situation given to us. Often there is no time to think. We must act quickly and bravely. To do that we can use the help of an angel — someone sent to us from out of the blue. Two weeks ago, I didn’t know I was going to need an angel, but I soon found out I would.
The day started off beautifully and I decided to take a long, pleasant bike ride through downtown Macon. I texted one of my best friends, Stephanie Shadden, to see if she wanted to come with me. She did and joined me about four miles into my ride. We embarked on our selected route winding through the streets of downtown. We had not been together long before tragedy reared its ugly head. Stephanie suddenly fell off her bicycle and was badly injured. I threw my bike down and found myself in a crisis. We were all alone and I was shaking so badly I could barely dial 911.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a woman dressed in a bright pink outfit walking towards us. She grabbed my hand, we both took Stephanie’s hands and began to pray! For over 20 minutes in the blazing hot sun, she helped me attend to Stephanie on the pavement until the ambulance arrived. I know God sent her to me. Her name is Pat Vickers and I will never forget her as long as I live.
“It’s going to be alright!” Pat tried to convince me between prayers. I was in shock and never let go of her hand. When you are in crisis mode, every second seems like an eternity. We thought the ambulance would never get there. I’m not sure I could have made it through those twenty minutes without Pat’s comforting presence.
As the ambulance sped away with Stephanie, my angel in bright pink offered me a hug. I warned her that I was extremely sweaty but she didn’t care. I cried like a baby as she held me. “I know who you are,” she whispered in my ear. “I never miss your columns or events. Without even knowing it, you have helped me many times.”
Stephanie has a long road ahead of her to recovery but she is a strong person and continues to improve. A few days later, I got in touch with Pat. She’s my new best friend and I can’t wait to introduce her to Stephanie when she gets better.
We all have the ability within us to be someone’s angel. When we come upon a situation where we can help, we need to do what Pat did. She could have just driven by but she didn’t. Instead, she put on her angel wings and helped us.
Angels come in all shapes and sizes. They also come in all races, ethnicities and nationalities. When it comes to helping another human being there are no barriers. Kindness is universal. I can still see Pat and her pink dress in my mind. When you think about it, what other color should an angel wear in Macon?
Mark Ballard’s column runs each week in The Telegraph. Send your questions or comments to P.O. Box 4232, Macon, GA 31208; call 478-757-6877; email firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him at instagram.com/mark creates; or become a subscriber to Mark’s Facebook page.