How do you know when you meet a seemingly ordinary person that you might actually be meeting an angel? Perhaps this angel disguised as a human has been sent from the astral plane to give you a message that might turn a period of great despair into a moment of grace and hope, thus altering the entire course of one's future life? And if you do have the good fortune to meet this superior being disguised as a human, is this an angel that has somehow fallen from grace for bad behavior or impure thoughts, or is he a human so exalted above ordinary beings that with one more leap of consciousness or good deed, he will cross over to the status of a heavenly being with no need for a body at all, but is simply a being of pure spirit and light?
It was in late August of this year that I met such a sublime being, albeit in such a humble, uneducated person as to be remarkably unremarkable. By a seemingly ordinary and irritating series of events I found myself stranded on Kingston Pike, more than two miles from the nearest KAT bus stop. The temperature was nearing 95 degrees. Disgruntled and dismayed, I began walking wearily along the edge of Kingston Pike, at times walking in ditches and through car lots to prevent being run over by the afternoon rush hour traffic, which took no heed of my pedestrian status and would have run me down like a mere speck of dust so that they might reach home or the nearest bar for their Friday afternoon cocktail. After about 45 minutes trudging under the merciless sun I saw the familiar KAT bus sign and plopped down, thirsty, tired, and wondering what the point of anything was. I was near despair, when I sat down and lit my last cigarette and prepared to wait for the bus.
It is often in this sorry state of mind that one experiences the most miraculous things, and so it was with me, when suddenly I saw from a distance a beautiful young woman with long golden hair and a navy and white dress that reached her ankles. Strangely, in contrast to her very feminine attire, she had on combat boots and thick bobby socks. She approached me so slowly it was as though she was walking under water, as if she were some sort of unearthly being in a mirage. Though the sun beat mercilessly on her head, she showed no sign of discomfort, but continued on steadily, with the quiet dignity of one who is at home in her own body and at peace with the world.
The sun was beginning to set, seeming to cast an orange and gold spell on everything, like a scene out of a Ray Bradbury story. I half expected round, little light beings to appear in the sky and beckon me to come away with them. Things seemed to shift to a different time and space and I felt myself mesmerized by the figure walking steadily toward me. It was only when she was a few feet from me that I realized the girl was not a girl at all, but a woman of advanced age, perhaps late 60s or early 70s. Deep wrinkles lined her face, which had the tough texture and the permanent tan of those who have lived most of their life outdoors. Despite her worn appearance and the frayed condition of her old-fashioned dress, there was something extraordinary about her, an inner stillness and calm that few people in our time have, almost as though she were listening to a voice that guided her wherever she went.
"Do you know what time the bus arrives?" she asked, in a lilting voice, like someone from deep mountain country. It was a beautiful voice.
"I'm sorry, I don't," I replied. "But it has to be soon because I've already waited 45 minutes."
"Well," the woman said, looking up at the fading sun. "It don't matter when it comes, just that it comes. I've already walked 12 miles today so a little rest will do me good."
"Where are you from?" I asked her.
"Over that way," she said, pointing to the lavender mountains in the distance. She put out her hand and shook mine. "Name's Annalee," she said. I responded in kind and we sat in silence, until finally the KAT bus made its way to where we sat.
She got on the bus before me and said: "Where do I put money in and how much is it?" Whereas I would have been mortified to ask such a question, she asked this question with no embarrassment whatsoever, but simply with the comfortable air of one who simply wanted information she did not have.
I sat down next to her on the bus and we traveled down Kingston Pike. Annalee watched eagerly out the window, as though she were in a foreign country and must be careful not to miss anything. "What a miracle everything is," she said, breaking our silence. Her voice was like a song you remember from childhood, though you don't remember the name of it or where you heard it. It was a feeling of recognition of some part of one's self that has been long disowned.
Annalee got off the bus around Sequoyah Hills, but before she left the bus, she looked directly into my eyes. With kindness. With love. With what I can only describe as a comprehension of what I was all about that exceeded my own understanding of myself.
"It will get better," she said.
"Excuse me?" I asked.
"It will get better," she repeated then touched the center of my forehead with the palm of her hand. I felt suffused with a light and warmth that traveled from the crown of my head the length of my body. If you are on the right path, things will be effortless. If you are on the wrong path, the way will be fraught with difficulty and you must go another way. Look for guidance through synchronistic events and meetings, no matter how trivial they may seem. That is where you will find guidance.
I looked for the woman after she got off the bus but it was if she had vanished into the trees. The sun was beginning to set and the sky was vivid orange, yellow, blue, and a soft lavender the same color as the mountains in the distance. Just before I got off the bus myself, a light so pure and golden pierced the darkening clouds that I felt God Himself was smiling at me. At all of us.
And strangely, after that day, things did get better. Or at least my view of things happening or not happening changed. My mood improved, things that had seemed out of control were suddenly manageable, and I often felt that I was being guided by a benevolent presence that seemed to form a path of light for me to follow. Things that had appeared insurmountable before suddenly seemed effortless.
I am not unaware that this may seem a strange story to some or most of you, but all I can say is, it was real and it altered the course of my life in such a positive way, that I cannot doubt that I was in the presence of an angel on the day I met Annalee.