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  • Writer's picturestephanieraffelock

The Angel of Perspective


The word satan means adversary. The word devil comes from the word Latin diablo, which means an obstacle thrown across the road to change the course of your direction. In early religious history, Satan was not a single being, but rather a type of angel -- the type who would throw an obstacle in front of you to change your course. What I learned about angels when I was little was that angels had wings and halos. They were good. They were rescuers and protectors. I didn't know that they could challenge you to change.


I met an angel when I was in downtown Austin last week. Driving anywhere in Austin is a harrowing adventure, so I gave myself kudos when hubby and found our way into the grimy parking garage that was attached to the shiny office building on Congress Avenue . . . our destination. We were there to sign our wills. A will isn’t just one document, it’s a stack. It took about 45 minutes to complete the process, each document signed after a brief synopsis by the attorney, so that we’d understand what we were signing. I find it interesting that an angel visited me on the day we signed the wills.


On our way out of downtown, I got lost and my GPS was not helping. I didn’t want to get on the freeway. I don’t have a good relationship with the Texas freeways, so I wanted to find the one street that I knew would lead me home.


I kept cancelling the GPS and she kept talking anyway so I told her to shut the eff up and cancelled her again. Finally my husband said, “hey, just follow what she says; if we have to get on the freeway, we’ll just deal with it, or you can pull over and I’ll drive.”


I stopped on a side street to regroup. An old couple walked in front of my car. The woman was carrying her world with her, a sleeping bag and a backpack, off of which a water container swayed with her steps. She was talking with the man who accompanied her, also carrying his world. It was over a hundred degrees outside, but the woman was animated in her conversation. That woman was an angel, and she threw an obstacle across my path changing the course of my direction.


When I pulled away from the curb, I felt different. I followed my overly persistent GPS and found the street that I wanted without getting on the freeway. Then I was finally able to cancel the GPS, and this time, it worked. I was on my way home.


For what felt like a liminal moment, I was a stranger in a strange land, the memory of people in a shiny glass tower, working respectable jobs for respectable pay, juxtaposed against the hot asphalt and an old woman crossing the street, carrying her world with her.


There are angels everywhere and they can teach us things, especially the satans who get us to change our perspective.

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