sahrish shamim



"There really is no good or bad, right or wrong, left or right. These are concepts and labels created, agreed to and then thought of as "real." I choose to no longer believe things just because everyone else does--this closes down my soul. When I ascribe to these without examining what lies beneath them, I limit my thinking. My mind--the creation point of my spirit--is held hostage. I have chosen to make myself less by my own unquestioned belief system." ~Robin Korth
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sahrish shamim



I SUPPOSE IT’S ODD THAT A NOT SO RELIGIOUS PERSON BELIEVES IN ANGELS, BUT HERE I AM. I BELIEVE.

There are several instances in my life that can’t be explained away as mere coincidence. I suppose a cynic might chalk it up to happenstance but that doesn’t change the way that I view things. My heart and soul have different eyes and I trust what they have seen.

When I was a freshman in college I lived through a natural disaster. A freak once-in-a-century flood overwhelmed my town and the surrounding areas. I lost nearly everything as the waters rose close to the rooftop of my second story apartment building. I was blindsided and completely devastated.

Many people lost their homes and the college had to temporarily shut down because so many students had no place to live. I found myself standing in line at food banks and relying on organizations like the Red Cross and FEMA for clothes and a mattress to sleep on. Social workers and crisis counselors that knew how to connect with recently traumatized students provided badly needed emotional support.

IT WAS AN EXTREMELY HUMBLING EXPERIENCE FOR A NINETEEN YEAR OLD THAT GREW UP IN THE COMFORT OF THE SUBURBS.

So many people volunteered and came forward to help as the city ground to a standstill with no power and no clean water. It was tragic but it was in this coming together of strangers and neighbors that there was also astounding beauty.

The gratitude I felt for these people and for the smallest of gestures from friends and family can not be measured. I suppose that’s what makes gratitude what it is, an overwhelming heart bursting feeling that can’t be quantified or manufactured. Even when I had nothing, I had gratitude in spades. This is what kept me from drowning.

Once the waters finally receded and my apartment building had been condemned I was cleared to go in and survey the damage. It was unreal walking back into what had once been my home. I had learned to fear fire and practice fire prevention in the homebut nobody had ever warned me about the danger and devastation of floods.

The toxic mold that had sprouted everywhere required special goggles, gloves, and masks to breathe through. I noticed that some of the furniture could be salvaged. I was relieved and ecstatic to have anything familiar to add to my new and barren apartment. I realized I was there alone with only my boyfriend to help. The two of us could not move the furniture let alone transport it. I went outside and noticed that my neighbors, all fellow college students, had parents and family helping them. I watched them load up their trucks and comfort their stressed out kids.


I STOOD THERE AND FELT INCREDIBLY ALONE.

Just as I was giving up rescuing anything from the destruction a van pulled up to the side of the road. A family of four jumped out and the dad yelled;

“You kids look like you need some help!”.


I nodded and explained the situation. Astounded, I asked them what they were doing… why they were here… how they were here in my moment of quiet need.

They explained how they saw the devastation from the flood on the news and drove from another state to see what they could do to help. My street was one they happened to drive down just as I was sitting outside with my head in my hands.

Without hesitation they loaded up what was salvageable of my belongings and drove them to my new apartment across town. Not once did they complain about the toxic mold, the weight of the furniture, or how far the new apartment was from the old one. They simply acted.

When they were done I thanked them profusely. I offered to pay them once I had some money and asked for their mailing information. They refused. With warm hugs all around, they wished me good luck in my new life and disappeared just as suddenly as they had appeared.

I don’t know what to make of these people that did this incredible thing for me in the aftermath of a tragedy. I don’t even know their names. So I call them Angels. And anytime life has thrown a storm my way, I remember these Angels that walk among us and how they saved me that day.

I remember them and their goodness that stood in the middle of miles and miles of destruction. I remember them and know that they, and others like them, are out there.

HAVE YOU MET ANY ANGELS?



BY STEPHANIE MARCH

Stephanie is a writer, survivor, and advocate.
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