Angels Can Have Tattoos and a Tan

Last weekend, I had to step out of the house for a bit. I “knew” where I needed to go and that was a local park, Ballast Point Park. There’s a pier where the locals try their luck for a fish and you might able to spot a dolphin or two. There’s a restaurant with an ice cream stand, a walking path, a playground, and even a water play area for the kids. My most favorite spot is one of the two swings they have that overlook the water.

It reminds me of the tranquility of being at my Mom-mom’s (grandmother’s who passed away four years ago). She had a swing on her porch and we’d just glide back and forth, making small talk looking out at the yard and trees.

As I drove over to the park, I “knew” I was going to get a swing. An unoccupied one isn’t easy to come by because they are a favorite for many other people. But I knew I was going to get one. As I pulled up, I saw a man get up from one so I quickly parked and beelined it over to the swing. Much to my surprise, the other one was also unoccupied.

I sat there for about an hour by myself. Watched the Sunday morning walkers with their dogs and babies. Watched the old men sit and shoot the breeze. I thought about a lot of things while I glided back and forth basking in the sunshine of the early, but hot, morning.

Suddenly my thoughts were interrupted by an old man’s voice. “Morning, little lady.”

I looked up to see a shirtless old man with a big smile, a tattoo on his right arm and one on his chest. He came a few feet closer and offered a handshake. Yep, this was kind of odd and I was slightly taken aback. He introduced himself, Harry E. Potter, and asked if he could join me.

Sometime within that hour of sitting alone, I wondered if anyone would come sit with me and how would the rhythm work? Who leads and sets the pace? Got my answer 

I said certainly and moved my purse to the other side of me. He started talking about his fishing endeavor from the night before. He was wildly successful but gave it to the man who was fishing for his meal. He reflected that he should’ve also fileted it and better prepared it for the stranger. He went on, “You know what I really should’ve done was offer for him to come over for the meal and allowed me to bring him into my home.”

The first thing I thought was that it would’ve been weird, but then the reality set in that this man was that honest and genuine; he wanted to break bread with this man; offer his home and meal for love.

He later asked where I was from and told him a little of our story. He went on to tell me where was from, but I didn’t recognize the name of the place. I nodded and let him keep talking. Part of me didn’t even hear all that he said, I think. But you know what I heard him say crystal clear?

“There’s no place like home.”

Three times.

As you may know, the Wizard of Oz is an immensely important story to me, one that has been the vessel for many of my life’s discoveries.

I sat there and just took in the moment replaying what I heard him just say. He politely blessed me, bid me good-bye, and went on his way.

After he left, my eyes swelled up with big giant tears. I was overcome with emotion. What a moment I just experienced. I can’t make this stuff up. It happens.

On the drive home, it totally hit me: that wasn’t just another old man. It was an angel that came to swing with me that morning. I don’t know exactly what he was delivering, but what I took from it was that I was confirmation I’m on the right path, exactly where I should be. And that I’m loved. Really loved.