Sunday, October 23, 2016

Angels are everywhere

Have you noticed them? It's just a matter of looking, and there they are, ready to lend a hand, sometimes when you least expect it, and usually when you're most desperate.

Two Sundays ago, my best friend, Cathy, and I ran into several of them when our travel plans got all messed up. It was my fault -- I misunderstood a bus schedule when I was booking our tickets at home in Canada weeks earlier, and the bus that didn't arrive that morning when we needed it caused a cascade effect that nullified our intended travel plans for the rest of the day. It was supposed to be one simple bus ride that took my friend and I to our train to Paris, then a quick jaunt on the Paris Metro to another train station, and on to Belgium. Simple.

Except for that first bus.

When we realized that it was not going to show up until our train had already left the station, the angels began to gather. The first was a beautiful young French man named Pascal who promptly phoned every taxi within range (using better French than I speak) to see if a cab could get us to our train on time.

Even as Pascal was making futile phone calls, the second angel appeared and started flagging down cars of people arriving at Taizé to see if any of them might give us a ride to our train at Mâcon-Loché, but they weren't interested in missing the morning service. When it became apparent that no one was willing to transport us 40 minutes down the road (I don't blame them), the car flagging angel plopped himself down on the bench next to me and said, "Listen, I'll make you a deal. If you stop beating yourself up for mis-reading the bus schedule, I'll stop being angry with all these so-called Christians who wouldn't help you out." His name was Kevin; he was an Anglican priest from the UK, and he sat and amiably chatted with us until our bus arrived, calming my anxiety and missing the morning service himself. I've since tried to find him on Church of England websites without luck.

The bus finally came and took us to the Mâcon-Loché train station with just a few minutes to possibly catch another train to Paris, but when I tried to punch the information into the ticket machine, it kept apologizing that it wasn't able to complete my request. My hands were shaking, and I was feeling really panicky when the third angel appeared -- an SNCF agent who took my train ticket, punched in my information, and explained in broken English that there was no room on this train so we could catch another bus to a small town called Crêches-sur-Saône, then a train to Gare Lyon-Perrache, and another train to Paris.

That's exactly what we did. We got to wander a bit more in the gorgeous French countryside, see a bit of the pretty city known as Lyon, and spend more time together, practicing harmonies and eating our bag lunches beside the train tracks in Crêches-sur-Saône. So of course the fourth angel was my best friend, Cathy, who never complained once about my mistake even though it cost us more money. She raced with me through the Paris Metro (a train waiting for us at every platform, thank you God!) from Gare de Lyon to Gare du Nord, helped me at the ticket machine, and saw me onto my final train with only four minutes to spare!

They're everywhere, those angels, sometimes traveling right beside you!


  1. I'm not really so angelic ;-) It was lovely to meet you both!
    Kevin Scott, London

    1. Sorry, Kevin -- didn't mean to spoil your "bad boy" reputation ;oD -- but you were like an angel to us! Thanks again!


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