There is a belief in Judaism that there are 36 righteous beings roaming the earth at any one time and that they appear to you through others at your greatest time of need. They are called the Lammed Vov. It could be a random statement of positivity from a stranger, or someone who says something that makes you reflect deeply in the moment. Think about a time you encountered one yourself. I’ll talk about a few angels who came into our lives.
To put my angels into context, I have had a few tragedies in my life. The most challenging was when we lost our house in the Oakland fire. We lost everything aside from some ceramics whose glaze melted off and some jewelry which was blackened. (Mary Ann had the gold melted down and reformed into a simple commemorative bracelet. ) It was traumatic to see everything you owned in a pile of ash. It wasn’t so much the day to day stuff, but the irreplaceable things: photos, my collection of Vietnam war protest buttons and my musical instrument collection. After the fire, we had to scramble to find a place to live, replace our clothes and sundries and try to normalize life for Max, who was 3, and Lucy, who was 6 months. Tall order, no?
Given the fact that 3,000 homes burned that hot, dry, and windy day in October, there was a lot of competition for help to rebuild our lives. A good part of Oakland needed places to live. For us, all we were able to take was our kids, our cat, and some clothes. We stayed with Mary Ann’s colleague from work for a week, then moved to her neighbor’s house for 2 weeks until Mary Ann found a rental house in Alameda. Friends donated furniture, the Red Cross gave us a check as did the insurance company to get us started. It was when we had to negotiate with the insurance company that we were lost. That’s when our angel appeared in the personage of James. He came recommended through an acquaintance. James became our guardian against the insurance contractor, the shysters who wanted to build our house, and the Oakland building department. He stayed with us the entire time until we were in our newly built home. He was then recruited by the very insurance company he represented us against.
The other angel is one I’ve mentioned previously, Yosvany in Cuba. He appeared out of nowhere to take care of me. He appeared out of a desire to serve and I was there to satisfy that need. After three days there, helping me in any way he could, we offered him money as a gift. He vehemently refused and said he did it all from his heart . He then started to cry with tears of affection.
What this taught me was how important it is to be able to accept someone else’s help, be it a Lammed Vov or a friend, when you really need it. We can be too proud or feel we have the resources to handle our own situations. I should know, we first refused help from the Red Cross after the Oakland fire and from Yosvany in Cuba. Yet when we put our needs in front of our pride, we were the richer for it . An old friend once told me that if I try to pursue something too hard, I’ll likely not catch it. It’s only when I step back and leave myself open, that’s when the opportunity reveals itself to you. I feel the same when it comes to Angel’s- don’t pursue, but let them enter when they present themselves.
More to come …