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Angel in the Gray Suit
In this excerpt from Thin Places a devastated man is comforted by an angelic stranger.
by Dave Franco

An angel in a gray suit comforts a devastated man.
My 63-year-old dad had been in love with my mom ever since he saw her at a Christmas party at church when he was 17 and she was 14. She was his best friend, the one constant in all of his memories, his dreams, his motivation, his adolescence; she was his planning partner for the rest of their days on earth. Mom was essentially Dad’s entire life. That’s why, when one morning she ironed my dad’s work shirts, straightened up the house, and walked out the door of their home while he was at work—never to return—it waylaid my dad like someone pulling the plug on the circuitry of his being.

He could barely lift himself off the ground. He cried. He screamed. He stopped eating. He couldn’t sleep.

When I would call him, he would answer the phone with such awful desperation, it was clear that he hoped beyond hope it was Mom calling to say she wanted to come home. When, in the middle of our conversation, he would begin calling out my mother’s name—a bellowing that I could hear echoing off the walls of my empty childhood home—it was more than I could bear.

My sisters and I believed Mom would come home soon and Dad’s nightmare would be over. But neither happened. Two years went by, and Dad was essentially still in the same emotional place. Sundays were an odyssey of going to different churches where he would sit in the back, listen to the music, and try to hold back the tears. This went on for another two years. Then, one weekday evening, Dad called me and had a story to tell. “Dave, I was walking out of a church this Sunday and a man in a gray suit tapped me on the shoulder and asked if he could pray for me.

He said he knew that my wife had left. So he pulled me over to the side, put his hands on my shoulders and prayed the most beautiful prayer I’ve ever heard. It felt so amazing. It was incredibly powerful.”

“Wow, that’s great, Dad,” I said. “So who was this guy?”

“I had never seen him before. I don’t know how he knew about me, but he gave me his card and said I could always contact him if I needed to.”

“Well, you have to call him and maybe you can meet with him on a regular basis,” I said.

“I already tried. I wanted to tell him thanks.”

“What happened?”

“Well, it was the oddest thing. The phone number went nowhere, like it didn’t really connect to anything. Then I tried to fax him at the fax number—but it didn’t go through. Even the address didn’t pan out. I checked out the street and there is no street by that name. “I know now that God gave him to me, as if he existed just for that moment in time, to help me.”

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