My friend Rob
First published in the Christian Science Sentinel
A man on the street brought me an angel message one morning. I first saw him sitting on a park bench about a block from my downtown office, eating a banana. As he stood up to make his way toward me, only his face, long white hair, and beard were visible through the tattered sleeping bag he was using to cover himself from the chilly morning air. His build indicated he had probably once been a tall, strong man.
But now I could only perceive a shadow of the potential that lay within that partially clothed and hunched-over figure.
Somehow I knew we were supposed to meet. I felt drawn to him. Not knowing exactly what I would say, I still thought I had some significant message to lift him out of his apparent disarray. That particular morning I had spent in prayer, thinking about my purpose - my spiritual purpose. I had an especially clear insight that morning that each of us, as the creation of an infinite, divine, spiritual Being, inherently has a reason for existing. That morning I was prepared to follow the gentle leading of eternal Life's loving call through any door I was directed. With great expectation I had fearlessly gone forward, expecting to experience the touch of the Christ in my life. This man must have followed a similar path that morning.
I said hello to my approaching friend and smiled, not quite knowing what to say next - but ready to listen. He said his name was Rob. Then, with grace, authority, and dignity, he looked me deeply in the eyes and said with a clear and steady voice, "You are the beloved daughter of God."
There was a pause because I couldn't respond.
Again he said, "You are the daughter of the most Holy."
How long did I gaze into his beautiful blue eyes? A moment? A minute? Five minutes? Slowly my disbelief dissolved into acceptance, as I allowed myself to receive this gentle fellow's spiritual message about my own divine nature. Time stopped, and the illusion of a homeless beggar disappeared. For a brief, glorious time, we were no longer beggar and do-gooder, but two children equal in the eyes of the most Holy. I felt it, and I know he felt it. Most of all, I knew it was an angel message from God to us both, because my heart filled with the warmest love.
We chatted and laughed for a few minutes. The broken, helpless picture of the man that I first saw down the street dissolved. Instead, I saw a truer view of him as a confident, witty, spiritual thinker.
He stood up straight, threw his shoulders back, and, before walking on, proudly thanked me for not being afraid to look him in the eyes. I thanked him for reminding me that my nature, like his, was truly divine and not defined by material appearances.
Mary Baker Eddy described angels as "God's thoughts passing to man" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," page 581). In the Bible, angels come to people in the form of visions and dreams, but also as spiritual messages of hope that often say, "Fear not." Over the next few weeks, every time I saw my friend I took time to acknowledge that God communicates with each one of Her beloved children, just as distinctly as She communicated with the spiritual leaders in the Bible.
A few times after that, Rob and I had interesting conversations about Christian Science. Sometimes I quietly prayed alone as I saw him walk past my office, affirming that just as I was blessed by the spiritual message he brought to me that morning, God's angels had to be blessing him with uplifting warmth, direction, and clarity about his spiritual identity from God.
Soon after our first encounter, my friend stopped walking the streets covered with a dirty sleeping bag. Instead he was fully clothed, with a fairly clean jacket. Then one day he didn't return. I trust he's continuing to move forward.
I sincerely celebrate the day I met my friend Rob. It was proof that, to the degree that I am alert, humble, and ready, God's existence will shine in tangible ways that bring healing, dissolve sin, and point to an ever-clearer understanding of His complete, loving control and power. I've also learned never to limit the parameters of where and how the divine Mind sends us.