I believe I have been saved by an angel.
Back in the late 80s, a sharp metal object on the road punctured the two tires on the left side of my red Galant. It was about 2 in the morning, the street was dark, it was drizzling, I was half-drunk and civilian cellphones had not been invented yet. When I started fixing the flat tire, a tricycle parked beside me.
The driver did not help. He didn’t even talk. He just watched and made me feel safe in that otherwise scary situation. I had only one spare tire so I had to run with one flat tire. While the car was limping its way to our house, the tricycle was there behind me the whole time. Before I got off to thank him, he has already sped away.
Almost 30 years later, I was falling into depression because of insomnia that lasted for months. To feel better, I spent days and nights reading the true stories compiled in the book "Angels Among Us" by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Amy Newark. I believed the stories submitted by people who were lost on the road during winter, who had no money when they needed it most, who were hungry, attacked by animals, among others.
In the stories that I can still recall today, I noticed that the people who encountered angels were alone during that moment.
I did not have enough Bible study so I came up with my own theory of angels. I theorized that visions of angles are creations of our own imagination. When in danger or extreme fear, our brain is triggered to produce the thought of a person who can get us out of trouble. They make us feel safe, feel brave or feel strong using our own adrenaline. They will show us the way or remind us of things that will save the day. The process, I thought, is just one of the untapped powers of the mind.
Although my theory was scientific, I still attributed it to God. He is, after all, the Creator who put that protective mechanism in our brain. I believed it wouldn’t contradict the Bible that says “For He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” (Psalm 91:11)
Angels are mentioned about 300 times in Scripture. But no verse says they always wear white robes, have two wings and a harp. These are just popular interpretations by artists from the Middle Ages. But many times in the Bible, the angels decided to appear, to conceal their true nature, as human beings. Scripture even tells us, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2)
When I think of angels in the form of humans, I think about us. I believe that our real Christian duty is to become angels for one another. Christ’s final commandment was for us to “love another”( John 13:34). And it was clarified in 1 John 3:17 that we must “not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
One homily I can never forget is when the priest advised that “we must be God’s presence wherever we are.”
We know how relieved we feel when somebody pops up just when we needed help. When we have a flat tire, when our house is on fire, when we can’t buy a meal, when we get lost in the forest, when we need blood, when we are very sick, when only hope and encouragement are keeping us alive.
How would it feel if we are that somebody who pops up for a friend or a stranger in need?
Linda Holmes quoted in a HuffPost website a Psychology Today blog article by clinical psychologist Lara Honos-Webb. Dr. Webb wrote, “When we help others and do kind acts, it causes our brain to release endorphins, the chemicals that give us feelings of fervor and high spirits –similar to a 'runner’s high.'”
“Doing something nice for someone also gives the brain a serotonin boost, the chemical that gives us that feeling of satisfaction and well-being.”
Many scientists say that good feelings make us healthier and live longer. Then again, even if we have only one day to live, it’s the good feeling that makes life worth living.
Was the tricycle driver who watched over me a real angel or just a good Samaritan? Nobody knows. What I know is that he made me feel safe so I could focus on fixing my tire instead of worrying that somebody would forcibly get my car key.
Human angels make the world a safer, better place!
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About the Author:
Robert Labayen spent 22 years in advertising prior to joining ABS-CBN in 2004. He was VP-Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi and Executive Creative Director at J. Walter Thompson, two of the country's leading ad agencies. He is currently the Head of Creative Communications Management at ABS-CBN. His job involves inspiring people to be their best. He is a writer, painter and songwriter.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.