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August 16, 2007

The Kindness of Stranger-Angels

My breathing has gone steadily downhill. COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease does that to a body. First you can't walk quite as fast as you used to. Then not quite so far. Before you know it, you start skipping certain things you used to do because you tell yourself you just don't have the energy for it anymore. After all, we tell ourselves, we're aging. The truth is, COPD is gaining control over our very breath. And we need to start keeping up with that fact and monitoring it more carefully.

To that end I wanted to get an oximeter, a device that fits over your fingertip and measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. It tells you how well you are breathing. But the price is steep, nearly $300 US. And insurance usually will not cover it. My budget took a hit last March when one of my dogs fell gravely ill - he recovered - but the budget didn't. Buying one new was out of the question.

So I tried the FreeCycle Yahoo group. It's a marvelous program for people in your local area to recycle items rather than throw them away or sell them. I placed my carefully worded ad and got- nothing. Well, not exactly nothing, I got something: a lead to E-Bay where another FreeCycle member had found an oximeter for a more reasonable price, but still out of my range. I blessed her for contacting me however and sharing her information with me. She was my first Stranger-Angel. Her name is Laura.

Still I was without any real hope of getting what I needed. So I sent up a little peep of prayer, "Help Lord!", then went about my business. Days and weeks passed. I was blogging more and started volunteering on a newsletter for those with breathing issues. Kept me out of trouble and my mind off myself. Till one evening on StumbleUpon, a social networking site, I got this instant message.

It's my practice to acknowledge people who visit my site with a "Hi, Thanks for stopping by". I didn't know it then but I had been visited by my second Stranger-Angel. His name turned out to be Terry. And "Voila!" , he asked if I would like an oximeter. Out of the blue! By the kindness of strangers and the working of angels here on earth, God had answered my prayer through this kind-hearted man.

He had visited my blog several times because of my occasional COPD content. Both his mother and his wife had passed away of COPD within almost a year of one another. Yet through his pain he had the grace to offer a goodwill gift of such value to me, a complete stranger. The Lord works in mysterious ways, and I got to see that close up this time. I am one blessed woman, with two new friends. And I'll soon have a much better handle on my breathing. So remember to be polite- you never know when you might be entertaining angels.


kwrenb said...

hi Lin -
great story - I loved it!
"entertaining angels unaware" indeed!

Becca said...

Great story - and I am so glad you got what you needed! Selfishly, I want you around a long time, my dearest friend!

Lin Neiswender said...

Thanks to you both. I count you among my angels as well!