Angel in a Red Sports Car

It was late September, 1982, no one had a cell phone yet.  

My one year stint working in a law office was just about up.  I had taken the job while applying to law schools, just to make sure practicing law was what I really wanted to do.

I dreamed of being Perry Mason when I was a child. I loved how he uncovered the truth by the end of every episode.  I loved how everything worked out fairly and squarely and dramatically.

But my Perry Mason dreams were deflated that year. Immersed in the day to day nuts and bolts of the law I saw that the legal practice is much more about posturing, winning at all costs and making money, money, money than it is about uncovering any kind of truth.

So I said no to the school that had already accepted me and no to the school that wait-listed me and took a job as a social worker instead.

But before I left the firm, on a late summer late afternoon, something perfectly Perry happened – no, better than that, something perfectly heavenly happened.

One of the senior partners asked me to drive to Lansing to file a motion with the Michigan Supreme Court.  “You can take my car,” he said.  “But you might want to get the oil changed first.”

I would barely have enough time to get there and get the motion filed. Get your own oil changed, I thought, sweetly, as I plucked his keys from his hand and headed out the door.

I made the hour and a half drive, stood in a long line, filed the motion with seconds to spare and headed back to the firm. 

I was on a fairly deserted stretch of expressway, about an hour from the office, when the car’s engine suddenly lost power.  Completely.

I coasted to the shoulder and stopped.

Before I could assess the situation, come up with a plan, consider my options, panic, I glanced in the rearview mirror and saw a fancy red sports car pull up immediately behind me.  Its very pleasant-looking driver got out and approached my car.

Ordinarily I would have been wary, somewhat frightened even, but on this day, oddly, I wasn’t.

We chatted about the law as he drove me to the nearest exit with a service station.  He told me his name and the name of the firm for which he worked.  He was an attorney who specialized in environmental law. I told him about an environmental case one of our attorneys was working on. He listened with interest and then gave me a piece of information to relay to that attorney saying it might be useful to his case.

When we got to the service station he arranged to have “my” car towed there.  “You’ll be safe now,” he said as he drove away.

There was something so likable about him that I was sad to see him go.

The next morning I relayed the information he gave me to Jerry, the attorney on our environmental case.

A few days later Jerry approached me and asked, “What was the name of that attorney again?” 

I told him.  

“Are you sure you have the right firm?” 

I rummaged through my purse:  “Yep, I wrote it down right here. Why?”

“The information he gave you is about to win my case.  Big time. So I called his firm to thank him and they insist there is no one there by that name.”

I never did become Perry Mason, but if I were to put that very handsome, very helpful good Samaritan on trial, I am convinced I could get him convicted of being an angel.  My evidence? The perfect peace and lack of fear I felt while in his company, for starters.

The perfect piece of information he provided  – the Hail Mary Pass Jerry needed just as the clock was running out on his trial.

And then there was the icing on the evidentiary cake – Jerry was representing a Christian couple who lived in another state.

God killed two birds with one bum car – giving a legal victory to a couple of His kids in Ohio by bringing an angel to the rescue of another of His kids in Michigan – by way of a senior partner who apparently NEVER got his oil changed.

You gotta’ love Him.



life, Light

Molded by Sacred Design


I changed my mind when I awoke this morning.  I was grateful rather than annoyed.  Grateful that I have only had to endure three rude remarks about my appearance (that I can think of) in my 37 years of adulthood.

Sure, I was called four eyes in elementary school.  My sisters said plenty of mean things when we were kids and I was so skinny that the boy I had a crush on in 6th grade said, “When you turn sideways, you disappear.”  But those comments didn’t bother me.  My mom had told me the story of the ugly duckling turning into a beautiful swan.  That was going to be me.

Besides, we were kids and kids say stuff like that whether they mean it or not.  I didn’t believe that they meant it.

But adults should know better.

So when I was twenty six and two construction workers called me a poodle as I walked past them wearing my perm-gone-wrong, it DID bother me.  What gives you the right to comment on my appearance?  No matter, I thought, you two will always be rude, miserable human beings but my perm will relax and my hair will grow out and I will be right back to being fabulous inside and out.

When I was 30 and I had not lost my pregnancy weight soon enough for my first husband’s liking, God replaced him with someone who would never dream of criticizing my appearance.  (And soon after he left I became screaming fit.  Take that sucker.)  Sorry.

When I was assaulted with rude remark #3 last week, at the age of 55, by a fellow 55 year old, I felt sucker punched.  It’s been 25 years since I last encountered that sort of remark from an adult and I sure wasn’t prepared for it.  My first thought was, You’re an idiot.  And then I wrote the writer of the remark off as someone who, WITHOUT DIVINE, MIRACULOUS INTERVENTION, will never be a grown up.

So, I am praying for divine, miraculous intervention.

And I am thinking about the people who endure those types of rude remarks on a regular basis.  People like my sister who live with a perpetually rude, perpetually immature husband; people who live and work among the perpetually snarly and immature every day. And I am grateful that I can count my assaults on less than one hand.

We started a new book in Bible study this morning: Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts.  It is my first exposure to Ann and I think I am going to really like her.  The first video session was beautiful, heartbreaking and poetic.  Ann’s manner of speaking is warm and gentle.  When she challenged us to list five things for which we are grateful, my mind went back to this morning’s first thought.

And then it went to four more:

I am grateful for beautifully arranged words and the ability to hear, read and appreciate them.

I am grateful for hearts and hands that are courageous enough to open themselves to receive ALL the gifts God has for them.  May my heart and my hands be one day counted among them.

A line from an old Susan Ashton song has been running through my head as I’ve gone about my week:

“I long for the shape of things to be true to their form:
Love in a circle, hearts in a line, molded by sacred design.”

I am grateful for God’s orderliness, for His sacred design, for His molding and shaping of us.

I am grateful that God has not given up, will not give up.

For what beautiful, loving, gentle, courageous, kind, noble, enduring things are you grateful today?  My soul longs to hear them.