I believe there are angels among us. Don’t think I have lost my marbles, because I don’t mean the kind with flowing dresses, golden halos and fluffy wings. I mean that there are actual people who are angels that walk around on earth.
These people are ordinary people that are kind, compassionate to others. (So that definitely rules out the rude man at Wal-Mart I discussed last week.) But an angel can be a stranger who simply smiles at you and helps to lighten your mood. I have had angels like that and they touched my life in very small ways but made a difference in my day or life.
I have had people who were a big part of my life for a while that helped me through stuff that I needed to deal with in my head and my heart. In high school one of my angels came to me in the form of an art teacher. She was kind to me everyday. She smiled all the time and encouraged me to be who I was.
She encouraged not only my artistic ability but encouraged me to use it so that it could be a huge part of my life. If you know me now you probably wouldn’t believe I was a shy little mouse in my school days. I didn’t believe in myself very much. I didn’t think there was any reason people would or should like me. This teacher helped me to see that I was worthy of being seen. She molded my art as well as my heart and mind. She became a teacher friend. On occasion she would listen to me when I was having troubles with parents, siblings or the boyfriend. She listened as if these things were important to her and tried to get me to see my “problems” from other perspectives. I wouldn’t say she gave advice on what I should do but would guide me to see what I needed to do to make these things better.
When I was a senior, she helped me to have projects to take to Delta State’s Art Department. The seniors took a field trip there to let some of the professors take a look at our work. She introduced me to professors and we toured the art department and even saw an exhibit in the gallery. I distinctively remember how wonderful it felt that other artists, teachers were looking at my work, at me and it was worthy of consideration.
I think my life would have taken a different path, if I hadn’t been encouraged and gone on that trip. I hated that I was going to graduate and not get to see this special woman. She was my angel, my security blanket and I was scared what would happen to me at that big art department.
But life went on and I excelled at Delta State and enjoyed my art classes. I majored in graphic design with a minor in photography. I loved all of my art teachers even the ones that pushed me hard.
I was over the moon, when I discovered that my wonderful, beautiful art teacher from high school was now a member of the Delta State Art department faculty. And even though she wasn’t a teacher for my curriculum, I was just glad to know she was in the building.
Towards the end of my time at DSU, I had to go through a senior review. I was terrified. There was a panel of art teachers that went through my portfolio and critiqued my work as well as give me a grade on it. They gave comments and I had to defend why I chose to take a particular project in a certain direction. I was so nervous my ankles were shaking through my socks. I managed to get through this task and was given my grade. My grade was a good one, but I guess to relieve the pressure I began to cry. I went to hide in the printing room but my angel found me there. It was as if she had answered my call of distress. I told her that I wasn’t happy with my grade ... it wasn’t as high as some of my classmates. She took my evaluation paper and as she gazed at it she looked puzzled and then smiled. “This is a great evaluation. You should be proud and never compare yourself to someone else!” she said.
That’s a lesson I still wrestle with today.
So you see, angels are around us everyday. You just need to look closely. And when you find one, keep the memory close to your heart. It can change your life. This angel has homemade paper wings, a halo made of twigs leftover from her artwork and a long flowing skirt like she always wears. I plan to keep Pat Brown close to my heart always.
Caroline Laster is an employee of The Bolivar Commercial.