The Visitor

by | Mar 27, 2022 | Angels, Comfort, Presence, Trials

This story is hard for me to tell; yet I feel a burning in my heart that it is a message that is vital for someone out there.

It was back in the days before my diagnosis with Alzheimer’s. In fact, it was, perhaps, the first time I actually became aware of my problem; and as such, it is a bitter memory.

Thankfully, God knew it would be a bitter memory. He knew in advance how hard this road would be to walk, and He sent me help. Right from the beginning. In an unbelievable way…

I have told the story before of how it was my last year of teaching. I was in my classroom at school when the principal called me over the intercom demanding to know why I wasn’t in her office. I didn’t have any idea that this was where I was supposed to be; yet when I dutifully entered her office that day, it was full of people I knew who were expectantly — and impatiently — awaiting my arrival! Among those there was my principal and vice-principal, one of my students, and another principal, who incidentally was also the mother to the student. In fact, there was only one person there, a woman, who I didn’t know…

Even though everyone was looking at me expectantly, I had no idea what this was all about. I was pretty sure I must have done something wrong, but though I wracked my brain, I couldn’t think of anything that would have put me in this kind of trouble. After staring back and forth with each other for what seemed like an eternity, they finally started asking me questions. Their manner spoke a clear message: They expected me to know what was going on, and apparently, I didn’t…

I wouldn’t learn this until later, but I had organized a meeting with my principal and the parents of a student in my classroom for that day. They had all arrived, but I had somehow forgotten all about it; and even there, in my principal’s office, no memory of the meeting stirred. I truthfully had no idea why they were asking me all these questions about this student. They wanted to know, for example, one thing the student had done in my class. I didn’t know how to answer them. They asked me if she was improving, but in the moment, I couldn’t even remember that there had been any problems with her. Then my principal asked me to tell one area where she was showing improvement, and the look on her face at my stammered response spoke volumes: My lack of ability to respond was putting me in I was in BIG trouble! The other principal, the one who was the mom to the student in the room, was also visibly annoyed with me, and I could read in her stance that if I had been a teacher in her school, there would be dire consequences…

There was, actually, only one kind face in the room. Only one face that didn’t look like it wasn’t ready to chew me up and spit me out. Only one face that seemed set on encouraging me instead of driving me down. It was the face of the one who I didn’t know. She was seated next to me, and at one point she reached over and squeezed my knee. When I looked her direction, she whispered: “Don’t worry. It will be okay.”

That 30 minute meeting seemed to me to last two hours, and the longer I sat in my principal’s office, the more I felt totally and utterly worthless. All I could think was, “I’ve got to get out of this room!” In fact, if it hadn’t been for the presence of the encouraging stranger, I’m not sure how I would have survived. But who was she? She didn’t seem to actually be participating in the meeting. What was she doing there, anyway?

Things didn’t get any better for me once that meeting was over. My principal followed me to my classroom and gave me a serious lecture about how I had failed at my job. I had failed my student and the other principal, and I had failed her and the vice-principal. She left me knowing beyond a doubt that I had done very, very badly, and because of this, I didn’t even deserve to be a teacher. After this, I went to the school office and tried to call the other principal, the one who was the mother to my student. I still didn’t understand anything, but I knew I needed to apologize. Unfortunately, she didn’t pick up, and she never returned my call or my subsequent emails…

There were still several weeks left of my last school year, and I was so worried about what had happened to me that I was pretty sure I wouldn’t even be able to complete the school year. Yet the words of the kind lady in my principal’s office pulled me through: “Don’t worry. It will be okay!”

I worked extra hard. I wrote down everything from that moment on, and it worked. I was able to complete the school year without any further blunders. This was largely due to the fact that my students were so sweet, and I can’t thank them enough. Where my principal was only condemning, my class was full of those who supported me. I truly had no need to worry. God had my back the whole time.

It wasn’t until a few months later that I finally went to the doctor; and following a number of tests, I was diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s. God, however, knew this well in advance, and He prepared someone to encourage me and placed her right where I needed her at just the right time.

As I think back on this incident, I have so often wracked my brain to figure out just who this woman was. The truth is, however, I had never seen her before, and I haven’t seen her sense. And what was the most curious is that no one else in the room seemed to notice her at all! It was, in fact, as if she wasn’t even occupying that chair next to me…

As I think back on this incident, I realize that God had prepared an angel to be with me, and He had opened my spiritual eyes and ears to see her and hear her voice. That’s how much God cared for me then, and He still does today as well! He has walked with me every step of this valley called “Alzheimer’s”. He has held me up more times than I care to admit, more times than I can count. In fact, I don’t know how I would have ever crossed this valley if it weren’t for Him!

Whatever it is you are going through, God knows. In fact, He knew in advance that you would be where you are today. Maybe He didn’t open your eyes to an angel sent to comfort you, but He has sent you comfort and strength in many different ways. And why not? Didn’t God promise through the psalmist: “If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge, and you make the Most High your dwelling,no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone…” (Psalms 91:9-12 NIV)? You may not see that angle like I did, but you can be sure that he — or as in my case, she! — is there, holding you up, giving you strength, guiding you through.

Isn’t God amazing?

In His Love,
Rob Chaffart


The Visitor