Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Angels In My Eyes

It was a sunny spring morning when I met Clarissa, a beautiful 17-year-old high school student, who was scheduled to volunteer at our nonprofit’s satellite office. She needed to finish community service hours required by some Ohio schools for graduation.

Her mother dropped her off and I showed her into the office. We chatted and I learned she’d been accepted into a nearby Christian college. For the rest of the summer, she’d work at a health food store, and we talked a little about holistic medicine and New Age spirituality.

Then, Clarissa suddenly stopped talking. She looked at me and smiled.

“I see angels in your eyes.”

She gazed at me and I felt as though she really were looking at angels. Our eyes weren’t connecting like they do in typical conversation. She was looking at my eyes, not into them. I felt self-conscious, yet so flattered. It was the nicest compliment I’d ever heard.

I finished giving Clarissa instructions for the work, and started to leave. We turned on the radio so that she’d have a little life in the room, since she was the only person there, other than the groundskeeper outside. I waved good-bye and told her I’d be back later that day.

When my cell phone rang a few hours later, I saw the office number on caller ID and assumed that Clarissa had a question about the project she was working on. But when I answered, she told me in a shaky voice that she’d just been sexually accosted by the groundskeeper, and was now locked in the office waiting for the police.

I rushed to the site and found a trembling Clarissa there with the police officer and her mother. Thankfully, the assault was limited to some inappropriate remarks and lewd behavior on the groundskeeper’s part. I was tremendously relieved that Clarissa was able to fend him off and lock herself away safely until help arrived. The police officer made a report and they began looking for the man, who’d fled after Clarissa escaped him.

We followed up with Clarissa frequently and made sure that she got all the assistance she needed to deal with the trauma of what happened. But as the days and weeks went on, I had a lingering question in my mind: had she seen angels in my eyes that day?

I wondered whether there truly were angels there that day looking over her. Perhaps the situation would have turned out much worse if not for the protection of the angels. Was that why she saw them? Were they a warning?

I believe they were. What started out as a sunny spring morning turned into a much darker day. But if not for the protection of the angels Clarissa saw in my eyes, who knows what might have happened?

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