Angels Watching Over Me, Part II


As I sat down to take the tests, there were very particular and strict directions about what to do and not do during and after the test.  One of the directions was to not write anything down after the test. 

Parts of the tests were computerized and other parts were written.  As I took the tests, I remembered my Jamaican angel.  I also remembered what it says in the Big Book about when we are nervous:  “We relax and take it easy.  We don’t struggle.  We are often surprised how the right answers will come after we have tried this for a while.”  And boy, did I need right answers.

Well, after a couple hours, I finished.  I was shaking.  I could see two out three test scores on the computer screen, and I could see I had passed them.  And even though I knew I passed them and would be getting an official transcript in a few weeks, I still wanted to remember my scores right then.  So, ignoring the rule not to write anything down after the tests (rules apply to me?), I tore off a teensy, tiny, little scrap of paper and wrote down my scores.  What harm could that do? 

I gathered my belongings from a locker and left.  I walked down the hallway and got to the elevators.  I pushed the down button and as I was waiting for the doors to open, I noticed the test administer rushing out of the room.  She looked a bit frantic.  She spotted me. 

“I need that little piece of paper you wrote on,” she said.  “We know you wrote something, and we have to disqualify your scores if you don’t give me that paper.”

Luckily I had it and didn’t lie like I would have a few years prior when I got caught doing something wrong. I just gave her the paper and told her what I had done.  She assured me it would be OK now that she had the piece of paper, and then sternly admonished me for not following directions.  She reminded me how lucky I was that she found me.  I thanked her profusely and turned to press the button on the elevator.  It dawned on me then that she was another angel.  She didn’t have to come looking for me.  And whoever was operating the camera that caught me writing my down my scores was another angel.

I was still shaking, when the doors finally opened.  And there, standing with a big, beautiful grin, was the Jamaican parking garage attendant.

“You passed, didn’tcha’ mon?”  he asked. 

“Yes, I passed,” I said, as my face was flushed with a child-like pride.  And as I looked up at him, my mind was swirling with the thought, “What was he doing in here?  Shouldn’t he be in the parking garage?” 

Trembling with relief and joy, I stepped into the elevator with him.  He pushed the button to close the doors. 

“Good, mon.  I knew you would pass, mon.  But the real test is now.”

“What do you mean? I asked.

“You need to apply what you learned to help the children that are coming to you.  That’s the real test, mon.” 

And as we walked together back to the parking garage and to my car, I had such a deep gratitude for God’s Love and Mercy.  I thanked the angel, gave him as big of a tip as I had to give, and got in my car.  He handed me the keys.  “Peace, mon,” he said.

And I swear when I looked back to see him again as I was driving out of that place—he was gone.


Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Angels Watching Over Me, Part I


During the workshop I presented on the Wonder Child at the Emmet Fox weekend a few weeks back, I told of a miracle that happened to me two years ago.  It is a popular story, so I thought I’d share it here.  After all, someone might be doubting their dreams, or that God loves them, or they might be feeling like some situation they are facing will never work out.  It’s a story for anyone frightened about facing some difficult task.  It’s a story about me, a praxis test, and a Jamaican parking-garage attendant.  I hope you like it.

A couple of years ago I decided to go to grad school to get certified to teach in public schools.  To do so I had to take a series of praxis tests that to me, seemed quite daunting.  I studied as best I could, even though every time I sat down to study I’d be compelled to fall asleep.  Anyway, I studied hard and the day finally came when I had to take the tests that would make or break my teaching in a public school.

Terrified, I drove downtown Philly to take the tests.  When I got there I couldn’t find any place to park close by the building where the tests were being administered.  Feeling very annoyed, I drove around until I found a parking garage several blocks away.  I pulled in and I didn’t realize until it was too late that it was a valet parking garage.  I hate valet parking garages because I have a few “tiny” OCD tendencies—well, control freakish tendencies really–I don’t like anyone else touching my stuff, that’s all.  But there was a car behind me so I couldn’t back up.

I was cursing under my breath as the attendant walked up to my car.  He leaned into the window and said in a wonderful Jamaican accent:

“Hey, mon, welcome, mon…You’re here for the praxis tests, aren’tja mon?”

“Ah…Yes,” I began…wondering how the heck he knew…but before I could get too much further he said, “You’re going to do great, mon.  Just remember to breathe mon.  You’re going to pass mon.  No worries, mon.  Just relax and have fun mon.” 

And right there, in a downtown Philly parking garage, I met an angel.  He helped put me at ease.  And as I handed him my keys and got out of the car, he said once more, “Remember to breathe, mon.” 

I thanked him and began walking the several blocks to the testing center.  I was still a little nervous, but there was a lightness to my steps.  I knew the Wonder Child, the God that runs my life, was at work. 

I finally found the building and went in.  And I will tell you tomorrow what happened next.

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

Go Slow, Go Far


Nine years ago I was teaching first grade and I took to the practice of writing each of my students a poem for their birthday.  I didn’t believe in giving meaningless homework to first graders so instead I would give them tasks like: memorize their birthday poem—learn it by heart so that it lives there.  Then I had them recite their poem once a week on the day closest to when they were born.  All of the poems I wrote for those first graders were about seeds and about growing.  This particular poem was written for a little girl who desperately wanted to learn to read and was feeling bad that things weren’t moving as fast as she thought they should be.   It’s amazing how the poems I wrote for those first graders still teach me things today.   


In husk and shell a maple tree slept

Deep through winter, quiet and blessed.

She dreamed of swaying through morns and eves,

And standing with starlight draped over her leaves.


“I want to sprout,” the maple tree said,

And a good kindly ground hog over heard from his bed.

“In due time, dear seedling, for grace is not rushed.”

And he fell back to sleep, in the snow-dappled hush.


So the maple tree waited, impatient and weary,

And dozed off to sleep so as not to feel dreary.

One day the sky cried warm tears of joy

And springtime returned for each girl and boy.


The seedling arose, trembling and proud,

Reaching for heaven through rolling white clouds.

Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog