Christmas Countdown 2009: No. 11. Angels Among Us by Alabama

I know, I know. You’re probably in one of two camps: either you are wondering why this didn’t make the top ten, or you are wondering why this song is in the countdown at all…

As I’ve mentioned before, I am drawn to stories, especially in songs. This song is on a Country Sounds of the Season compilation that I received from one of my students several years ago. I think it’s one of those tunes that’s played more during this time of year, but it is certainly a stand-alone song of inspiration and belief that can be played any time of the year.

Not many people know that I was brought up with a little western culture, thanks to my brothers, especially Steve. Steve and I don’t have much in common anymore, which saddens me. For some reason, our relationship has strained over the years. When I was younger, though, he instilled in me a love for cowboy hats and country songs — a love that was not consistent with many of my friends or others in my family. Nobody was right or wrong — we were all just different, that’s all.

I spent a lot of time with Steve. There would always be Alabama or Waylon Jennings (among others) playing in his Blazer wherever we went, and I had a line of cowboy hats and boots to be just like him. The hats outlasted the boots, and to this day, I still have one hat that borders on the western side of life. I miss those days of four-wheelin’ and spending time with him. But most of all, I miss the relationship we once had.

That’s true about all three of my brothers, though. They were born a generation ahead of me, and we just lead different lives. I wish we made the time and the effort to see each other more. I know it’s not too late, thank God. Time to reach out to them. Give them a call. Drop them a note. Something to let them know they still matter in my life.

Anyway, Country music is in me. It helps me gain appreciation for the works and sounds of other performers, from the Grateful Dead, to James Taylor, to Emmylou Harris, to Alison Krauss. Throw in a story, and I’m hooked.

This song in particular strikes a certain harmony with me, as I do believe in angels. I think that we’re the ones making the choices about whether we aceept what they have to offer, that’s all. All we need to do is open our eyes, close our mouths; open our hearts, close our minds. In no time, you’ll see the miracles of angels working all around you.

When I was hiking on the Appalachian Trail in the 80s and 90s (a trail I still strive to return to some day), there’s something called Trail Magic, where individuals leave you little things to help you along your way. This can be everything from food to a roll of duct tape. It makes no matter; these are gestures of good will and kindness, selfless and with love.

I remember one particular night, grateful for the little trail magic that came my way, thinking that there was little difference between the invisible angels and the ones who are living, breathing, human beings. They are sent to guide us, protect us, and at the very least, provide us new directions and opportunities that we might have never had. It is because of them that I was able to go to sleep with a renewed energy and enthusiasm for the long walk ahead the following day. Angels bring us hope, a belief in ourselves, a comfort when we’re down, a friend when we’re in need.

Look for the angels among us, and be an angel to others as well. Random acts of kindness go a long way. It’s what keeps our faith in each brand new day, every day.

I believe. . . .Do you?

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2 thoughts on “Christmas Countdown 2009: No. 11. Angels Among Us by Alabama

  1. Absolutely believe in angels… and think I actually met one several years ago— was there one minute and did an act of kindness and the next minute she was gone– she wasnt in the form of a young virginistic girl in a white flowy dress and feathered wings…. she was an older woman, rather ordinary, with a smile that lite up her face– at first I though she was a fruitcake– it just wasnt normal to approach strangers in a grocery store…. long story short— she must have been an angel… an earth angel they say— angels who walk because they havent gotten their feathered wings yet. And yes, I believe there are angels among us… we just have to be willing to open our eyes and see them. Nice unconventional choice of song RVW!

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  2. Thanks, Michele. That’s what I love about this song. There ARE angels among us…Like you said, all we need to do is open our eyes and our hearts for the possibility to see their selfless acts of kindness…

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