An Unexpected Angel

by Janet Pierce

Every time I see pictures of beautiful angels in books, magazines, artwork, and various statuary, it’s all I can do to keep from shaking my head. That’s not what they are supposed to look like. Where are the holy, strong, forceful beings that were described in the Bible? The ones that created such an overwhelming presence they were always telling frightened people, “Be not afraid.”

I’ve never seen a clause in the Bible that said they were just pretty females that flitted around at our summons. Instead, angels, are fierce protectors, bringing news and helping us. At least that’s what happened to me.

It was early fall; the maple tree leaves in the parking lot hadn’t changed colors yet. I stood in there, stomach clenched in dread as I watched my husband throw his suitcase in the car.

“I can’t take it anymore; I’ve got to leave before I do something I regret.” His offensive words, felt like nails, pounding into my heart, sealing my fate. He ran a hand through his hair, then opened his car door.

Powerless to stop, I stood and watched him pull out of the parking lot space and drive to the main road.

“Don’t worry, he’ll be back.”

I turned and looked over to my left at a dark-haired man standing a couple of car widths away. His smile and calm assurance as he uttered those simple words comforted me even as questions arose. How does he know? When would my husband return? What do I do in the meantime?

I had no idea if let alone, when my husband might return. But, as a newlywed and young woman alone in a strange place, I decided to take heed of the stranger’s words. In the weeks, then months that followed, I clung to that promise, using the money we got from our wedding and my substitute teaching salary to pay bills. And I waited. And prayed.

Two months later, my husband’s depression lifted, and he did return. We’ve had some tough moments off and on through the years that have followed, but I’ve always remembered the message of that stranger long ago. 

My angel was unassuming, but carried a powerful message to reassure me. It’s been over forty years now, but I can still picture him and remember his words. So, whenever I think of angels, I don’t think about those picture-perfect beauties. I think of that man, my own messenger from God. The one that kept my fears at bay and gave me peace.


Dr. Janet L. Pierce with a PhD. in English, Composition and TESOL, has written historical feature articles for the Tribune Review, as well as having been an editor, newspaper reporter and photographer for the Standard Observer Community News. Her publications also include Teaching ELs- Cultural Implications, Communications, Connections and Curriculum (2019); two chapters in TESOL’s New Ways in Teaching Speaking (2018); as well as a chapter in TESOL’s Revitalizing a Curriculum for School-Age Learners, and an article in TESL-EJ, volume 16, Number 1. Additionally, she has written curriculum and taught online ESL teacher certification courses, taught ESL K-12 for 27 years, been active in Three Rivers TESOL, the Affiliate Leadership Council of International TESOL and currently is a member of TESOL International’s Publishing Press Council.


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