His Small Angel
by Helen Dowd
He looked in the mirror, repelled by the sight, a
constant reminder of his last fire-fight. 'Though he'd
rescued a man, a dog, and a boy, his fame as a "hero"
brought him little joy. For his wife had now left him for a
more handsome man. She said, "Care of an invalid was not in
As he stood there bemoaning his unhappy state, he was
filled with self-pity, with anger and hate. His dreams for
the future now turned upside down, he limped to the park, on
his face a deep frown. As relief for his mind, he sat down
to read. To the movement around him he paid little heed.
Then out from a group of some children at play a ragged
young girl approached, her head turned away. Standing close
to his side, her eyes to the ground, she stretched out her
arm and said, “Look what I found!” She held in her hand what
looked like a weed, all wilted and brown, its flower gone to
The man growled in answer, "Just leave me alone. Get on
with your playing, or run along home."
But the child was undaunted. "I picked these for you.
They're awfully pretty, and I think you are, too."
The man was annoyed, for her eyes seemed to shift. He
pushed her aside, refusing her gift. He thought that she
mocked him, as others had done--the object of ridicule, the
target for "fun".
And then something happened. God opened his mind. A new look
he took: the wee girl was blind! He reached out and touched
her. He patted her head; then accepted her flowers, although
they looked dead.
His anger and hatred had started their melt. God's love,
through this child, he knew he had felt. The man turned to
thank her, but she wasn't there. She seemed to have vanished
into the noon air. Although day after day to the park the
man came, he never did see his small angel again.
But the child had awakened in him a desire to start a new
life, to forget that last fire. He went to the hospital,
where once he had been. He stood there and stared at
familiar scenes. He watched the burn patients in their
therapy. In some he saw anger, in some, agony. Remembering
so vividly the pain he'd endured, he knew that the "inside"
was the hardest to cure. From that moment on, he knew what
he'd do. He'd help these folks heal. And his soul would
© Helen Dowd