The Singing Seraphim
by Jo Russell
Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!” I winced with each step across the super store where I had stopped while traveling, leaning much of my weight on the basket to ease the pain. It was too bad the discomfort of walking was not as easy to fix as emptying out gravel from my tennies!
Though the surgeon had watched me for a year, he informed me that the arthritis in the joint was not bad enough to warrant surgery. “Besides,” he in-sisted, “You’re too young for a knee replacement.”
I argued, but he didn’t change his mind. He studied me and took notes.
Each week, I had limped through playground and bus duty at the school where I taught. By every Thursday and Friday afternoon, I had used a wheel-chair to get around the halls. All weekend, I had to rest and limit my walking.
When I shopped at a large store such as this, I would determine ahead of time if I could walk the length of it. With groceries and office supplies on op-posite ends, the store seemed longer than two football fields. “Can I be con-tent in all circumstances?” I thought as I faltered painfully along. “No chance of that today!”
At the checkout counter, I noticed a grey-haired lady just ahead in a wheelchair, smiling and chatting cheerfully with the cashier. Just the tops of her knees showed from where I stood. Her knees were both swollen and lumpy like mine.
“Humph!” I thought grumpily. “I bet you’ll be glad when you have a knee replacement and get out of that chair!” Then I went outside into the sunny parking lot, where I heard a loud, clear, and joyful voice singing. It flowed from the senior woman as she quickly moved her feet like pedals and scuttled her wheelchair across the parking lot toward her vehicle. Her voice continued bubbling with praise! That’s when I saw her legs. From the knees down, both were made of titanium ending in metal feet tucked into new athletic shoes. It didn’t slow her down or stop her song. She maneuvered herself into the driver’s seat and drove away, still caroling to God and the world.
“Why don’t I have that kind of joy in my life?” Then I realized I simply had not looked for it. I had a loving God who met all my needs, a job I enjoyed, great family, coworkers, and friends. My focus had been on one glitch, my painful knee. I hinged my attitude on that, missing the blessings of each day and my own happiness. I had not even tried to smile lately.
The singing woman was overflowing with more gratitude and cheer than anyone I had ever met. Every moment, she had been giving joy to others and rousing their smiles.
A few years and a new knee later, I stopped at the store again. This time, each of the women employees wore an intricate crocheted angel pinned next to their name badges.
“Wow, that is beautiful!” I commented to the cashier ringing up my pur-chase. “Did you make it?”
“No,” she told me, smiling. “There’s a lady who comes shopping here and she made them for each of the female employees. She told us she knew how hard we all worked, and these angels are ‘to cheer all of you up through the day, knowing that they are with you.’”
“That was a lot of work!” I commented.
“Yes, but she wanted to do it. She’s always smiling and singing – even though she’s in a wheelchair.”
I felt as if someone tapped me on the shoulder. Who would have given a selfless gift of crocheted angels for several dozen employees? Like the town where I live, the town where I had stopped is small. Could it be?
“It would be just like her,” I guessed, remembering a voice and the way the joyful senior woman scuttled across the parking lot in her wheelchair with a bubbling song of praise. Now angel wings on name badges were a daily re-minder that joy that is possible in all circumstances and God is with us! A singing seraphim! She had been there to remind me of God’s presence and joy just when I needed it.
Jo Russell writes from Arizona.