A Heaven-Sent Angel Encouraged Her

She feared she was not up to her new job. Then she looked out her window. 

Posted in , Dec 27, 2021

Illustration of a woman looking up at a church; Illustration by Alex Green

What did I expect to feel on the first day of a brand-new editorial job? Every job had a learning curve. I just had to give myself some time to get the hang of this one. That’s what I told myself as I bundled up and left the office building for a brisk walk on my lunch break. I needed to stretch my legs, but part of me wanted to run all the way home. My mind was swimming with new information. I’d been so happy to land the job—in an office on the seventh floor, with a window overlooking downtown Albany!—but now I was beginning to think I’d never measure up.

I had plenty of experience as an editor, but a lot of this editorial work involved graphs, charts, tables, illustrations. That wasn’t all. I’d act as a liaison between various people—secretaries, typists, designers, translators. Five foreign languages, I thought, rounding a corner. Plus Braille! I had to oversee the process on materials I couldn’t even read, making sure everyone had what they needed to do their jobs. How would I ever handle mine?

The wide downtown streets were cold and windy, but I wasn’t ready to go back to my desk. Just ahead was a church with its doors open. Mass was in progress, so I settled into a back pew to listen. The warmth of the building was a comfort, the priest’s sermon even more so: “When we find ourselves in a situation that’s overwhelming, that we can’t possibly handle alone, God is there for us. He never gives up on us.”

Hmm, I thought, did the priest know I would be dropping by today? My mother would have told me not to be fresh, but she would also tell me that if God wasn’t giving up on me, it wasn’t fair to give up on myself. Not my first day on the job, at least.

When Mass ended, I pulled my coat tight around me and headed back to the office. Halfway down the block, I turned against the wind to secure my scarf. I caught a glance of the church’s spire and craned my neck to follow the spire all the way to the top, where an angel stood. She blew her horn up into the sky, as if in celebration. Or maybe encouragement just for me. “I’ll see you on another lunch break soon,” I told her.

I returned to my desk, piled high with study materials. I hung my coat and scarf and settled into my chair, ready to tackle the responsibilities before me. As I opened the folder on the top of the pile, I glanced out the window. There she was—the angel on the spire! The seventh-floor view was even more perfect than I’d realized. I wouldn’t give up on me.

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