Years ago, I found myself in the local grocery store with my barely one year old son. I wore an owl sweater that covered my bony shoulders from weeks of eating as little as possible. My eyes were hollow with deep shadows of darkness underneath from countless nights of sleepless torture. My hair was crimped from braids the night before; it was the most I could do to exhibit an attempt at looking ‘ready’ for public interaction and to face a new day.

My husband had told me several weeks before that he wanted a divorce. My kids were three and one year of age. I was heart-broken which quickly carried over to the anger and rage stage I stayed stuck in far too long. I was physically starved for food. Emotionally starved for love. And spiritually starved for understanding and peace from the constant pain in my chest from a world turned upside down in one single horrible conversation.

As I did my usual grocery shopping early that morning, I tried to put on my bravest face. If only for the small child smiling back at me from the front of the grocery cart. I needed to be strong for him, and his older brother. They were my saving grace during that time of traumatic emotional upheaval.

I recall walking to the dairy aisle. I hated that aisle. It was cold, unwelcoming and made me want to shiver my way far away from the butter, cheeses and eggs which seemed to mock my awkward, troubled appearance. As I reached for a box of butter, I looked up to find an elderly gentleman directly beside me. He looked kind.

I smiled. He smiled. He looked me deep in my tired, sad, lifeless eyes said three simple words: “You are beautiful.”. Then he walked away.

Tears streaming down my face, I turned to thank him. But he was gone. He vanished as quickly as he appeared. Changing my perspective, mood and life with three simple words.

At the depth of my despair, I entertained this angel unaware;

He touched my broken heart with words I will never forget.

He reached into my spirit and gave it a breath of re-birth;

Forcing me to rise above and re-evaluate my spiritual worth.

I will never know if he was really there or a figment of my fractured imagination. I only know he brought a smile to my face and a song to my heart. For the first time in weeks.

I still had a long road to recovery and accepting my new normal. Yet, my interaction with that stranger on that particular day was the beginning of a healing path toward forgiveness, acceptance, peace and a greater love than I had ever known.

That experience changed the way I saw myself; as a rejected, empty, shell of a woman to a beloved, worthy, precious, BEAUTIFUL child of God.

I will always be thankful to the angel in Aisle Three.

I believe he was sent from heaven above,

With a special message just for me.

Amannda Maphies has always gone by Manndi; and yes, it has two n’s. It is actually a perfect moniker for her as she’sa bit (more than a bit) zany, wacky, crazy and loves nothing more than to laugh at herself and share that laughter with others. Manndi works fulltime at the UMKC School of Pharmacy, has two boys, William (10) and Waylan (8). She loves to write so she recently started posting on Facebook about her daily adventures about everything from being a single mom of two wild and crazy boys to dating after divorce, to more serious topics such as the loss of a loved one and suicide awareness. She trie to infuse humor, relatability and a touch of inspiration into each of her pieces. One day, she will compile them for a memoir of her life. Manndi’s life motto is ‘live a life you would want to read about’ and she strives everyday to reach others with her words. She feels that you are only as happy as you choose to be and she CHOOSES happiness over all other emotions. She is honored to be featured in a publication named ‘Positively Positive’ because that is truly how she strives to live life.

Image courtesy of Dee @ Copper and Wild.