Kissed By An Angel


It has been more than forty-five years since I returned from Argentina where I served as a full-time missionary for my church. I have forgotten how to speak fluently in Spanish, its native language, but some lessons I learned there continue to influence me to this day. One such lesson is an appreciation for the basic blessings that sustain my life, such as food, clothing and shelter. Recorded in my missionary journal is an experience that has stayed with me over the years. Then only 20 years old, I wrote:

“I’ve come to realize that I am so blessed that I can’t ever repay the Lord for a fifth of what he’s given me. I wish everyone had a chance to see how other people live…. I feel for the people here. The other day an old lady came up to us, old, ragged clothes, ugly…She begged us for a peso, which is worth nothing. So we gave her about 60 pesos. She almost cried and took my hand and kissed it and then kissed my missionary companion’s hand. I almost cried. She left rejoicing. After she left the train conductor who had witnessed the whole thing said to me, “Better wash your hand!” I said, “It’s all right!” Someday, I thought, that man might find himself in the same situation. The flesh isn’t anything. Old, young, ugly, pretty, we are all brothers and sisters. Someday I’m going to be old. She was young once, like I am, and no matter how bad I want to stay young, I’ll keep getting older until I reach her age. But I’ll be the same person, same spirit. My body might die but my spirit doesn’t…. Life is beautiful! The world might be ugly but life is the greatest blessing. People make their lives ugly, like the world, or beautiful like Christ. As for me I choose Christ. Now the question is “Am I willing to pay the price!” (Missionary Journal, August 2, 1976)

I don’t really know the age of that “old woman” who I saw that day. As a young man, everyone over forty seemed “old.” But I am sure that I am approaching the age of the woman from that Argentinean train station. I was right, back then. My body has significantly aged, but my spirit is the same. Life can be beautiful if we center it on the teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ. After being kissed by an angel, the question I posed to myself back in 1976 still lingers. I guess it is a question for all of us to ponder.

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