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In The Presence of Angels

As real as it gets...

The painting is titled "Three Angels Visiting Abraham" by Ludovico Carracci (1610). Note the angels do not have wings. In the Bible there are angels who appear as men and there are angels with wings. Both kinds of angels fly. Hebrews 13:2 “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

How do I begin this memoir without sounding mentally unfit? It's probably best to simply tell you about it and you can be the judge of my competency.

I spent the early part of my career repairing medical equipment in hospitals and clinics around the United States. Primarily in Ultrasound Departments but also Nuclear Medicine and X-Ray Departments.

I spent my early career in a rush. I was flying approximately a hundred thousand air miles a year. I left home around 6 a.m. Monday morning and flew to the East Coast. Sometime around Wednesday I would fly through Chicago and spend the night at home. When I did, I was on another flight in the morning to Nebraska or Minneapolis or Kansas City. In dozens of cities, I knew the location of every Catholic hospital. I mention Catholic hospitals because I didn't need an address to know where they were. Almost every Catholic hospital could be found within sixteen blocks of the center of the city. Signage showed the way for the public and for ambulance companies. The signs worked equally as well for me. You don't have to take my word for it. Look into any major city and you will find a Catholic hospital in the area I described.

In those same cities, I knew the Presbyterian and Jewish Hospitals, too. They built after the Catholics and were catching up to them as best they could. They weren't always in the center of a city. Like all truths, there are exceptions, but in the late 70s and early 80s, the delivery of Catholic-founded healthcare dominated the country.  From my perspective, as a late-twenties-early-thirties field service engineer, Catholic hospitals dominated the medical equipment landscape.

One morning I flew into a city (that I won't name) and parked near the emergency entrance. My flight had been late and I was pressed for time. I knew exactly how long this repair was going to take and I'd already purchased my tickets for an afternoon flight to take me to my next job. With my service manuals, tool kit, spare parts, and test equipment loaded onto a two-wheeled luggage carrier, I walked hurriedly through Emergency and then suddenly stopped dead in my tracks.

Out of the corner of my eye, I had seen an angel and I was stunned.

This was my first.

It looked like a man. The Being was sitting with a human man in a windowed area to my right. I'm using the word Being because angels were not created as male and female, biblically speaking, but may assume either identity.  The glassed area was for patients and family who were either waiting for treatment or news of treatment.  This was not the kind of angel with wings and holy beams surrounding it. This was an Old Testament angel; the kind of personal angel you've read about in Bible stories. Of course, it appeared as a man but I knew the Being wasn't one.

I'm emotional as I write this today because I remember The Truth of Things blazing within my brain at the time. This was an Absolute Truth, an Undeniable Truth, this is the Proof of Truth for which people have been killed if they refused to renounce this Truth to others. I had that Truth then; I have it now. I like to think that I'd die rather than renounce the truth of this experience, but I don't know if I have the courage.

The angel was giving comfort to the man next to him. It was so obvious. In the presence of an angel, there is only the Truth of Things. I watched the angel speak and nod his head to the man. I watched as a sense of comfort came over the man.

The urge to go inside was powerful. I wanted to go inside that room and tell the angel I knew who he was. I argued with myself. Should I intrude and declare I knew who the Being was? If I do, I will be even further late for this service call and perhaps miss my flight. Or should I abandon the experience of meeting an angel just because I had to service some medical equipment?

I decided I should leave. It would have been arrogant of me to point out I knew the angel's identity. I mean, seriously, who would out an angel for personal gratification? One had to think an awful lot of oneself if one chose to do that. It means one's need for glory is more important than the man in the waiting room and the angel that was attending him.

I stuffed my arrogance deep inside myself and I walked away. I said to myself that the business of angels is the business of angels. I have lived with the phrase ever since. I've looked for more angels over the years but I haven't seen any.

Although this was the only time I've seen an angel, I know they sometimes visit me. I didn't know it the first time but I recognize it every time it happens now.

Most of the time I'm alone when this angel comes. I like to think it's the same angel but I really don't know. What I do know is that when the angel comes (or perhaps goes?) there is an incredibly beautiful floral scent in whatever space I am in. Two weeks ago I was in my car driving home when the scent of flowers came upon me. There were three feet of snow on the February ground. My heater was on full blast. Suddenly, every breath I took was filled with the sweetest scents of flowers. Fragrant. Delightful. A sense of completeness and one-ness has filled me whenever I've breathed it into my lungs. It was the same this day.

Immediately I thanked my invisible angel for checking in with me. I told her I missed her and I asked her to come again soon. It sounds so stupid when I write this but it isn't stupid when I say it to her. It's as natural as breathing. I call this angel "her" because of the scent. It's so much better than a woman's perfume but I attribute it to a woman's presence nevertheless.

This angelic visit occurs every few years. It's rare. It has happened when I'm with others, too. I've asked others if they smell the fragrance and they say no. I can't believe they don't smell it.  It's so obvious. It's not like a hint of something. It's like a shower of fragrance that overcomes me. I feel blessed whenever it happens.

Lastly, I don't know if this is angelic or not. I suspect not because I don't feel in the presence of an angel when it happens.

I hear music when there is none. I hear footsteps when there are none. I hear my name being called when there is no one around. These sounds do not have an identifiable presence like the angel in the first part and definitely not the same level of fragrance as in the second part. Yet these sounds are also a part of my life. If you know what heterodyning frequencies are in radios then you will have a sense of what I sometimes hear. It's like a radio that is almost tuned to the right frequency but it isn't clear. You can hear something but it isn't understandable. But it is there and I cock my ear to hear it better.  I know it's real because there are times when it's not there.  It isn't wax in my ears or ringing in my head. It isn't crickets chirping either. It's clear to me that it's not tinnitus but something else. Something I can almost hear.

The medical community has names for conditions they can't explain. Like phantosmia for smelling things that aren't there. Like paracusia, for things you hear but aren't there. Like hallucinations or lucid dreaming for things that can't be seen. I'm stubborn about this point: just because science invents a word for something you sense and others can't, it doesn't mean the experience isn't real and it certainly doesn't mean my mind is tricking me.

In the presence of angels, all things are real, no matter how unbelievable they are.

This is my memoir and this is the Truth of Things no matter how unbelievable it is to others.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright infinity and beyond...
Do something good today and don't take what is not yours. You can email me at for permission.

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