Angels Among Us ~~ Rachel

Yesterday I did a favor for Rachel. She recently moved, is still feeling overwhelmed with organizing her new space, and I’m pretty good at organizing. It is the least I could do for this angel … a small repayment for her kindness to me during difficult times in my life.


Rachel first appears in my memoir on page 176 in the chapter titled, “Daunted.” It was 1989 and I had just left my marriage of almost twenty-three years. It was moving day and Rachel noticed my daughter and me working hard all day carrying stuff into my new home. We were exhausted, and I had neglected to make plans for dinner.

“As we carted in another load, Rachel came by to welcome us to the neighborhood. She invited us to dinner at her house. … A single parent with two teenage daughters, Rachel lived two doors down. Her invitation felt like a good omen. I hoped a friendlier neighborhood with girls near her age living close would make my daughter more comfortable moving in with me.”

Then she appears ten years later on page 259 in the chapter titled, “Fire Walk.”  Rachel is more extroverted and fun-loving than I am, but our friendship survived my move away from the neighborhood where we first met.

I was even more exhausted and rattled in 1999 than I had been on moving day in 1989. I was in the midst of a crisis with my daughter. She needed appropriate clothes to wear to a funeral and I didn’t have the time or energy to take her shopping.

“Rachel appeared with a bag full of clothes she and her daughters no longer wore. In the bag was a nice dress and shoes for my daughter to wear to the funeral.” 

When Rachel arrived at my home with these clothes, she saw the state I was in. I had so much to do and couldn’t even think straight to get started. Rachel helped keep me focused for the tasks at hand and helped me accomplish them.

Rachel sees a need and jumps in to help. She is known for helping many others. When reminded of her generosity, she is surprised because she has forgotten all about it. That’s just the kind of friend she is.

Yesterday morning as we worked on organizing her kitchen, our conversation deepened as we both reflected on what I wrote in A Long Awakening to Grace. She is not the first friend to note, after reading all that I went through with my children, that they didn’t feel they had been there for me … had not been a good friend.

That has nothing to do with their friendship. When something came out in the open, friends responded, including Rachel. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to write this “Angels Among Us” series. My friends couldn’t know the extent of what I was dealing with because I mostly kept it to myself. When I needed to talk about my family struggles, I saved that for my support group meetings.

When I was with my friends, I wanted to enter fully into our social activities. I wanted and needed a break from family matters. So many friends, including Rachel, are now learning the details. What is meaningful to me is that my story seems to touch some of their own tender places and they now feel free to share with me. Our eyes moistened as Rachel and I bared our souls in her kitchen. And then we did what good friends do, we gave each other a big hug.

Thank you, Rachel, for being an angel in my life … in days long past and currently as well.


  • Diana

    Real angels do survive the test of time. That’s because what they do/did is base in who they are. Their gifts to us are not unique events in their lives:):):)

    • They may not be unique to them … you included … but they are significant for those whose lives they touch. I’m so blessed with wonderful friends who bless me every day … and you are one of them.

  • Ceci Cole

    I am touched to the bottom of my soul by this tribute to Rachel. Your gratitude for these angels in your life says so much about you!

    • Thank you, Ceci … I can own that today. One of the greatest compliments I have ever been given is “You do friend well.” And that was made by one of the significant mentors that helped me become the person I aspired to be. It has taken me a long time to own this, but better late than never.

  • the ripples continue to touch my heart…

  • Ruth

    I’ve loved hearing about all these angels in your life – aren’t you blessed to have so many!! ☺

  • Now that I’ve read–and loved–your memoir, I find it so lovely that you are writing about and honoring the angels in your life. How very generous is that two-way path. Grace-filled, I would have to say. Thank you for letting your audience meet Rachel today and others in recent weeks. I’m honored.

    • Dear Mary Jo, thank you for appreciating meeting the Angels in my story. I had hoped for such a response. The Angels in our lives deserve to be acknowledged even though none of them do if for recognition. They do it out of love and care. But being on the receiving end … I want the world to know how important they were in my journey. It says something about you that you recognize this. I’ll bet I’ll be reading about the Angels in your life one of these days and I’m looking forward to it.

  • Bonnie Burt

    Thank you for recognizing the angels in your life……it is so heartwarming!

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