This time last year I found myself emerging from a great personal trial. It wasn’t just a relationship gone bad, but a public humiliation. A stripping down of my ego. A devastation of my pride.
The only choice I found was to run away to the river. An answer would be found there, I was certain. I drove for eight hours to Hannibal, Missouri and there encountered a disturbing scene. A young man approached me at the river and tendered his personal life story about how his father had been burned alive and how he had been left to fend for himself in this world. While he told me his story I heard ‘The World I Have Known’ by Collective Soul floating out from a riverside bar. He grabbed me by my arms with great force and told me to leave his town and never come back.
I drove away in tears through a ferocious thunderstorm and slept in a truck stop parking lot. At 3 a.m. I received an email from the troubled man I had met and the message contained one word in the subject line: “Epiphany”.
A few days ago I returned to the town to which I had run for respite from my life. This time I wanted to find real redemption in Hannibal. I went to a cemetery that overlooked the Mississippi. I watched the sun rise at a point called Lover’s Leap. I didn’t find the young man who seemed so desperate for help that night. But I did find my answer.
Sometimes we fail to see the gifts before us.
Sometimes we entertain angels unawares.
May we all know our gifts. May we entertain strangers and angels.