The Woodwork Angel
When something disastrous happens, sometimes these angels enter our lives and change the way we see the world. I first experienced something like this at Wagner College.
Amanda Pierce Bruscella
You may recall me mentioning that a story I first published as my “Thought For The Day” on August 30, 2012, was going to appear in the magazine published by my alma mater, Wagner College, which is located in Staten Island, NY. Well the story was published, and it appears in the Winter 2014 edition of the Wagner College Magazine. I am including the link for the story, and also include the edited version of that post written so long ago!
It was early in 1976. I was a student who had married before graduating from college, and even though my senior year tuition had been paid by my parents, my husband and I still needed to maintain a home and cover expenses, which included commuting from New Jersey into New York for work and school. Unfortunately, upon returning from our honeymoon, we discovered that Dan had been furloughed from his job with New York City in the fiscal crisis of 1975. Dan was unable to find work, since potential employers knew that he would return to his city job once the furlough ended. I was struggling, too, as I was working and attending my senior year of college classes full time. And then one day, I developed a toothache.
I had suffered for a number of days when one of my professors, Eva Lazar (of the music department), saw my distress and asked what was wrong. Tears in my eyes, I told her that I needed dental care and could not afford it. She asked me if I planned to continue working after I graduated. My answer was yes. She told me she would loan me the money to pay for my care, and I was to pay her back after I graduated and had been able to secure a better job in my chosen field. I gratefully accepted her offer, and I kept my word to this generous woman.
Many years later, I read a story, entitled “Woodwork Angel,” which mirrored the events of my own life. It tells of another struggling college student who comes down with a bad toothache. In this case, it’s a local dentist who helps the student, providing extensive dental care on credit till the student graduates and gets a job. I did not understand the title for the story until it was explained to me by the author. A “Woodwork Angel” refers to someone who is part of the circle of people we interact with, but whose importance is not perceived. Like the woodwork in a home, we see it every day. It may be beautiful, but we never fully notice it. But, when something disastrous happens, these angels enter our lives and their generosity of spirit and kindness of heart change the way we see the world and the people in it.
Yes, I paid my angel back — but even more than that, I determined that I would try to make a difference in the life of another lost and struggling someone, if ever the opportunity presented itself. And true to the promise I made to myself all those years ago, I had the opportunity to help a young person get on her feet after she found herself being abused at home.
In the Gospel of John, Chapter 13, Jesus washes the feet of his disciples. It’s my conviction that, just as Jesus showed kindness of heart and generosity of spirit as he lowered himself down to the floor to wash 12 pairs of dirty feet, so we also must render acts of kindness and service on behalf of others. Like a snowball rolling down a hill, you may never know the magnitude of what you start by paying your own blessings forward — but it might just be enough to change the world for someone else.
Amanda “Mandy” Pierce Bruscella ’76 retired after 30 years of nursing and moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in 2000.
She is a nondenominational minister and a faith-based blogger.
“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.“
Matthew 20:28 NIV
Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry