Angels Among Us


The other day I was sitting in the reception area at my office waiting for my appointment to arrive. Sitting near to me in the small set of chairs around a coffee table with magazines was a gentleman and his little daughter. Very little. Looked like she'd been walking only for a little while; in diapers. And, small and as delicate as an Iris blossom.

I made an attempt to make some simple hello contact. The little girl was very quiet, moved softly and slowly, seeing everything. Reacting to nothing. Fully aware. And, no response.

I asked her if she talked. Nothing. Dad suggested she was "shy". I said to him she seemed to me to be more ... observant.

At some point she picked up a magazine her Dad was going through with her earlier and came to stand right in front of me. I asked I I could put her on my lap. Dad was fine. She just let me pick her up.

There I was with this little wisp of human thumbing through a catalog with mostly faces of people giving Yoga-centered workshops. Not too much to talk about with a one year old. Then — nice surprise — in a two page spread there was this beautiful flower covered tree. "Look at that, it's called a tree. It has flowers. Can you point to the flowers." She just sat there silently taking it all in. It felt so heartwarming to be in a parental teaching role for that brief time.

The Dad and Daughter were waiting for Mother while she was having a prenatal exam. Little brother or sister soon coming. The doctor called them into his office. The little girl carefully placed the magazine on the stack on the table.

As she was leaving the area she gave me a nice wave goodbye. Very unschooled, hand facing upward, fingers opening and closing. Queen-like. But, not prompted.

A blessing. I took it as a signal that we had made contact with one another.

I had asked Dad what was the girl's name. It sounded to my ear like, "Ashuleah". Very delicate and lyrical, just like the girl herself. I asked if there was some meaning to the name. "The first part is an Old Jewish name. Nobody knows what it means. The second is Leah, from the Bible."

I looked it up and the best I can find is that Altschul is an early 14th century Ashkenazi name associated with the Old Synagogue in Prague. Leah from the Old Testament, the story goes was Jacob's first wife and mother of six sons and a daughter. Jacob, you see, was not all that keen for Leah. So God consoled her with many children. The name originates from the Assyrian language and means "ruler".

Did I tell you the Father was an Orthodox Jew?

Looking back on our exchange it struck me how I remarked the girl was "observant".

Angels among us.

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