These Angels or Mere Human Beings?
You Looking For A Sign From God? Part 2)
Fortunately we were not very far from the highway shopping area, when I got the signal to pull the car over and discover the splattered engine oil. Even then, the state of the car could neither take us to our destination nor could it take us back home. So we simply relaxed to let the car engine cool down as the dark night drew closer. After the engine cooled down, we calmly turned and slowly drove back toward the highway shopping area hoping to find a roadside mechanic or something like that. Incidentally, when we got the shopping area, all the mechanics were closed for the day. Another challenge. We had no option than to quietly continue singing our love song of praise to God. And then, out of nowhere, a man appeared and approached us. Behind him were some other young men hanging along the roadside. We were not sure if they were going to be friendly and helpful or if they would pounce on us since the roadside shops were all closed and the area looked deserted. We quickly scanned his appearance. He was tall, strong looking, barefooted, and wearing a somewhat tattered cloth that was dark with grease and dirt. Most likely a roadside “mechanic”, we concluded. As soon as he got close to us, he made it clear he was there to help. Angel number 1? So we pulled the car to the side of the road and alighted. And the man asked “Oga, wetin they do-am?” (Translate: Sir, what is wrong with the car?).
We opened the hood (bonnet) and showed the engine to the “mechanic”. Even he too was amazed by the state of the engine. His comment: “Uhhh! This car needs to breath.” The man started feeling around the car but we wanted him to concentrate on the main trouble at hand because we several hundred miles to our destination and the outskirts of the city we are heading gets even more dangerous as the night gets deeper. We asked the man if he could get us an engine oil compartment cover. To our surprise, he said he could find one. Quickly, he ran behind the shanty shops and emerged again in a short while holding a cover in his hand. We asked him not to give us the wrong one because that was what got us in this condition since the mechanic in the village had used a wrong cover and padded it with rubber to make it hold. The “mechanic” assured us that it was the right cover, and true to his word it did fit perfectly when he applied it. Without haggling, we quickly paid the price he mentioned for it. We were grateful.
Next, we had to worry about how to get the oil to fill the engine. There was no gas station, and we did not have enough reserve oil. The engine was completely empty of oil. Before we would even ask for how to get any oil, the “mechanic” called on another man lying on a nearby bench and seemingly sleeping. “My friend wake up and do some business,” the “mechanic” shouted at the man who immediately sprung up from the bench. The man came around and asked us how much oil we needed. “Enough to fill the engine, it is empty,” my friend said. The man hurried off to the back of the shops and quickly returned with gallons of oil. Angel number 2? In a moment the engine was filled with oil and the engine oil pot was covered with a perfect Volvo engine oil pot-cover.
As I ran the engine just to make sure everything was alright for the time being, my friend and I could not help but notice how the first man (“mechanic”) and the second man (“oil man”) jokingly teased and picked on each other while they did there jobs nevertheless. In their exchange of comments, which went on to our hearing, they teased each other for charging us for the simple services they provided. However, the fact that they charged us or how much they charged us did not matter to us. It certainly helped that we had the money to pay but we were more grateful that these men were there to help when we needed their help.
The Journey Continues
Even though it was now almost dark and even more dangerous, we did not hesitate to continue our journey, and so we drove off in the direction of our destination – Enugu city. We were enjoying the experience so much that we eliminated the idea of going back home. There was no going back. Our experience so far had made us stronger in our resolve to pull through the journey. But certainly, I had to drive faster (of course, the Expressway had no limiting speed radar), but above all, I had to drive smart. Potholes that suddenly appear in one’s view did not help matters but we were determined to avoid the potholes, overcome the rough road, avoid any encounters with the highway robbers, and safely arrive Enugu in time.
However, as I stepped hard on the accelerator, empowering the turbo engine, and watching the speedometer rise, we suddenly came upon a series of roughly scattered potholes. There was no way I could escape being caught in one of them. Not at the high speed I was going. I gave it my best shot, swerving away from one pothole and another. I almost escaped all the potholes but my seeming best was not good enough. I heard the sound of some metal hitting the rough concrete of the tarred road. I quickly glanced at my rear mirror and noticed a metal object rolling off the road into the nearby bush. It was the metal design wheel cover of the right rear wheel. What is the sign in this? I asked myself as I quickly pulled over and jumped out of the car hoping to quickly grab the wheel cover, jump back into the car, and speed off before anyone would come upon us in this isolated part of the highway. But the wheel cover was nowhere to be found. At least not where I had thought it landed.
Then I heard voices coming from the mountain that bothered the road. That part of the highway had been cut to go through a large mountain area. This made the road to have mountains on both sides of it. My friend was waiting in the car just in case he had to move it if prowlers emerged from the nearby mountains. He was not the one shouting. Both of us looked up in the direction of the mountain’s peak, and through the appearing darkness of dusk, we could see a few people comfortably watching us from their elevated position on the mountain top. My first thought was to wonder from where these people appeared since there was no house within view on both sides of the highway and this was for several miles. At first we thought they were going to come rushing down on us, and my friend was urging me to abandon the wheel cover and get back to the car so we can drive off.
But no, these people were there to help. Like Angels, they pointed and shouted instructions to me and I followed their directions until I found the wheel cover. Initially I had been a little skeptical about their sincerity. I was suspicious that they could be leading me away from the car so they could easily snatch the car, but that was not the case. Somehow from deep within I was comfortable in trusting their instructions and guidance. They led me to the wheel cover. I picked it up, and my friend and I waved our heartfelt appreciation to the people at the mountaintop. They waved back in acceptance. The distance from my car and where I picked up the wheel-cover, made me realize that I was way off from where I had thought the wheel cover had landed. My Speed was too much. That was the message.
As I returned to the car with the wheel-cover, I pondered on the sign, the message, and the Angels in this experience, and I could put it together - Slow down. Continue trusting God, and know that he is always with you and around you. As we drove off, I was convinced to relax and drive more slowly even as complete darkness fell. Only a few miles further down, we noticed that the on coming traffic had been diverted to share our lane of the expressway with the risk of head-on-collision for careless drivers. Eventually we safely made it into the warm embrace of Enugu city. It was a safe journey but did it involve Angels or mere helpful people? The answer remains a matter of perspective.
ARE THESE ANGELS?
Amongst us Angels may Live
And with the eyes of men alive
We may see them not ever alive.
In the guise of common men
Here to live and common share,
Like us the men of common earth.
Angels may thrive daily or not
And whether that be true or not,
Depends on Perspective, yes or not.
TO PART 1
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Oliver Mbamara is an Administrative Law
Judge with the State of New York. He is also a filmmaker and a Published
Poet and playwright. For more on Oliver, please visit
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