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The Angel of East North Street

Today’s post is written from Montana, but it’s all about a very special street corner in Greenville. One that’s been on my route for the past two years.

From where I live the easiest way to get downtown is to go down East North Street. So four times a week for the past two years, that’s exactly what I’ve done. Going down Haywood Road to 385 would be a little faster, but then I would miss out on seeing one of my favorite people in the entire world.

The crossing guard.

You read that right.

There is a crossing guard on East North Street. She’s out there twice a day, helping kids from the school get across the street. Crossing Guard might be her job title, but what she really is is an angel.

You read that right.

First off, her face beams like the light of a thousand suns. That might sound like hyperbole, but it literally isn’t. It’s so powerful that I can picture it vividly all from three second interactions.

The whole time she’s out there she is blessing every single car that drives by. “Have a blessed one!” That’s what she says. According to a news report I read she says it about 250 times an hour.

If it’s slow, she closes her eyes and prays out loud. The thing you want to do is to make eye contact with her. That’s the holy grail! When you do she puts her hands together, points them towards you, smiles, and then raises them to the sky. It’s your own special blessing! And trust me, there have been times over the past two years that I’ve needed it.

She’s been doing the job for nine years. She needed something flexible so she could be with her daughter. She tried the school cafeteria but it didn’t work out. The crossing guard position came open and all of Greenville County has been better for it.

Her presence has been so humbling to me. How hard would I have turned my nose up at a job like that? Let me tell you-it would have sprained my freaking neck. How much would I have hated people seeing me stand there, wearing that bright uniform? How much would I have thought about all the things I “SHOULD” be doing instead?

Yet this woman embraced it. This beautiful woman, touching all these lives, believed that this job was a part of God’s plan for her and then took the simple yet miraculous action of acting on that belief.

I wonder how many people’s days she’s turned around?

I wonder how many saw the joy in her face when she prayed and decided to maybe give it a try?

She’s retiring now. That little corner of East North Street will be a little sadder. Back in January, a voice told her it was time to move on, so she’s doing it. She’s not sure what she wants to do next but she wants to be obedient to God.

This woman touched the lives of so many people. Since the news of her retirement there have been newspaper articles, TV spots. I learned about it through a friend who shared it on social media. It was so amazing to realize that not only was she making my day better, but also the days of my friends and everyone else lucky enough to drive down East North Street, past her little corner of praise. Now I’m adding my little verse to the chorus.

One of the tenants of Christianity is to die to self so God can live within you.

Never have I seen a better example. All from a crossing guard. Not that I should be surprised. Jesus wasn't a powerful American businessman. He was born to refugees in the back of a barn. His entire message was that the meek shall inherit the earth. It's so painfully obvious that he or she would have chosen a crossing guard as a powerful conduit.

I hope I hear what she decides to do next. Whatever it is, I’m sure God has great things in store for her.

Until then…“Have a blessed one.”

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