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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

An Angel Named Bruce

When I was a kid, my parents were always bringing the weirdest people home. Any person who wandered into our church looking down and out would usually end up being fed at our dinner table. I was just a kid so I didn't know about Bad People yet, so I wasn't really afraid. But I did know about weird ones and it seemed to me that my parents could've been a little more discerning about who they brought home. At the very least they should've had a smell standard.

My mom always said that the Bible teaches that we should be hospitable because you never know when someone might turn out to be an angel. I didn't think angels smelled bad, but what did I know? If the Bible said it, I believed it...maybe because I was just a kid.

I will never forget one man who entered our lives when I was about 11. He showed up at our church one Sunday night smelling terrible. He had long, grey, hippie hair with a bandana tied around it and a scraggly beard down to his chest. His eyes were such a clear blue, almost white, that you could see right through them. He walked, unashamed, to the very front pew (much to the discomfort of some of the members who didn't like his torn cloths) and stood there praising God at the top of his voice. He had a pretty good singing voice. Well, he was loud anyways. He also raised his hands and closed his eyes while he worshipped, which was against some unspoken church rule, but how was he supposed to know? I remember watching him, fascinated, during the entire service.

Of course, my parents decided to bring him home. His name was Bruce and he was living on the streets. He said he was bi-polar and some other things that I didn't understand. But I've known a few bi-polar people since then and he was nothing like them. When he looked at me I felt like he was looking into my soul.

At dinner, he smiled at us all, asked us our names, and then proceeded to tell us what they meant. I couldn't stop listening. His voice was like music and the things he spoke were so....weird. He went on to describe what each of us kids were going to be like when we grew up because of what our names meant. (Looking back, I wonder if he was psychic.) He talked about God like he saw Him every day. He pointed to a picture of a rainbow and proceeded to explain how every color was a picture of God's character. Random stuff like that.

I just knew that after a few dozen bums, my mom had finally brought home an angel.

He stayed with us for a few nights, then left as abruptly as he came. We never saw him again but he has never been far from our thoughts. To this day, my family still talks about Bruce. We talk about how strange he was and we shake our heads, wondering, always wondering. When I get to heaven, I won't be the least bit surprised if there, praising God in the Throne Room with hands raised, is a hippie angel named Bruce.

"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have entertained angels unawares." Heb. 13:2


  1. I swear that sometimes, those slow drivers in front of you can be angels too. Because then you see the cops that you would have missed.

  2. Hello Darcy,
    I came over from True Womanhood.

    This story you share brings back memories from my childhood too. My parents brought home all sorts of people, some more comfortable to be around than others, and some stayed for longer than others.
    I don't remember any angels (at least not people who seemed like they may be angels!)among them. Like you, I have a very strong sense of smell and sometimes found their smelly presence very annoying.

  3. I'm over from Elizabeth Esther's site. I loved this story, and your writing as well. Thanks for remembering some of the good from your past and sharing it.

    -- SaraJ