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A Stroll Through Paradise

by Richard L. Provencher  
5/14/2010 / Christian Living

Before my stroke in 1999, I didnt spend much time chatting with those of lesser health, who lingered by street corners, being noticed as someone yet alive.

After my stroke, I became one of them, and now, through prayer and support from family and friends, I know how to live. I really do as I shuffle along a route similar to theirs, now understanding the world they live in.

Walking in Truro, Nova Scotia is more like meeting a feast of personalities. Angels are definitely around us. And they come in the form of laughter and smiles from people often missed as they gather in little towns such as this.

As others hurry to work, Angels in Paradise may be overlooked. A slower pace easily brings them into view. When encountered, Angels are unduly labeled the walking wounded of society.

Since my own encounter with a serious illness, causing slowness in my daily walk, more meaningful moments have been drawn to my attention. And these very Angels have enriched my flagging spirit.

It was my joy to discover Ralph, a man of darker skin and whiter teeth, who hailed me on the street. After many conversations, it is now Hello Richard, instead of simply Hey. His red baseball cap continues to attract my attention, and I no longer wonder why so many deliberately stop and chat with the man.

He is a dispenser of wisdom, unused to foul language, cheerful in spite of weather conditions and moves from one selected corner of Inglis street to other stations. His eager shuffle captures my admiration.

Then there is Hank. He saunters along, window-washing pole slung over his shoulder, pail of water in the other hand. Are his blue-painted running shoes a giveaway to his eccentricity? I can attest to the fact he is sane.

Hank carries himself with mature pride. No one knows much about his past, where he worked, if he had a family or how old he really is. Merry eyes belie the cracks of skin across his face.

This man has a closet full of creative urges. He works away in the lateness of each night, preparing his theme for next days journey downtown.

And everyone notices him when adorned in his latest creation, green painted hat a sash of green across his chest, green pants and similar colored running shoes. Havent figured out how to carve a shillelagh yet, he proudly boasts.

There goes Greg, stilt-like in his walk, as he maneuvers a tall frame around crowds of urgency. Beginning quite early he walks the streets of Truro, like some guardian of the town. Arm and leg movements visibly strained due to his car accident some twenty years before.

But that was then, and this is now. Once I too hurried on by with a wave and an admonition about the weather. Now I can barely keep up to that walking wonder. Limbs stretch forward each day, dispensing a will to overcome his limitations. And I feel privileged to inhale his cheerfulness, his vigor.

Then theres Dave, hat pressed tightly to his forehead. He cant afford to lose it to the wind, since steps are slow in the event of needed chase. Some wrongly state he is a challenged person, unable to contribute much to society. I call him, Special.

I see him as a painting on a canvas. His colors are a never-ending smile. When he fixes his gaze in ones direction, you can sense the depth of peace within his heart. And I seek to absorb that contentment. The steady movement of his broom across the asphalt, dust pan in hand at MacQuarries parking lot; he is a fixture upon the scene, valuable as any cherished antique.

Watch carefully, as his wife nearby has only eyes for her man. Inside her breast is her own bucket of love, ready to be shared.

Each of these angels, are monitors during my daily walk. Yes, once I too hurried on by, off to some important destination, eyes focused on my wristwatch, not wishing to be delayed. So busy, and more concerned was I for a meeting, coming up sooner than a coffee break.

Each day remains the same for so many hurried persons; their bustle in life, worrying and heading gosh knows where. Some destinations call to them as a mother loon anxious for her baby chicks. And when they arrive, perhaps continue on with unfulfilled lives.

Sadly, amid another day, some unknowingly have passed through Paradise. Not realizing that love, caring and blessings from nearby Angels are waiting to be dispensed. All it takes is a moment of hesitation, a glance, perhaps a pause.

Stop, visit and listen. I am now humbled to be among them.

Copyright (c) 2010 Richard L. Provencher

Richard enjoys writing poems; many of which have been published in Print and Online. He and his wife, Esther are also co-authors of stories and a print novel. They are "born again" Christians and very busy in their church, Abundant Life Victory International, in Bible Hill, Nova Scotia.

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