I’ve encountered a few angels. Have you?

I’m not talking about the sweetly generous ones, though there are plenty of those around. Anyone who helps the sick, injured, and frightened wears an invisible halo.

The angels who’ve earned my particular admiration work with the emotionally disturbed. They grit their teeth and work day after day to improve the lives of people who frequently and most emphatically do not wish to be helped. These unhappy souls can be angry, resistant to treatment, addicted, and even violent. Progress is measured in tiny increments. Backsliding is more common than not, and angel burnout is inevitable.

Children are especially vulnerable to the quality of care they receive. Upset, acting out, socially inept, and unable to learn easily, they flourish under skilled leadership that impacts the rest of their lives, and by extension, the lives of their families.

I’ve seen miracles. The very best angels have allowed my agitated young relatives to experience that most elusive feeling: acceptance.

So if you work with the mentally ill, the emotionally disturbed or any other type of sick, injured and scared people, stand tall. Regardless of your personal weaknesses or flaws, your halo shines.

And thank you.