Be the Sparkle in Someone’s Life

Be the angel among angels.

Miriam Diaz-Gilbert
4 min readJan 15, 2021
Photo by Morgan Sessions on Unsplash

I don’t need to tell you. We are living in extremely overwhelming and difficult times. One way I cope with difficult times and challenges is to run.

Journaling is another way I cope. It’s good therapy. Journaling is healing and restorative. I document the difficult experiences. I also document beautiful moments.

From time to time I go through my journal. Today I came across an entry I made in my journal two years ago today — January 15, 2019.

I recorded an encounter I had with an angel.

I wrote:

Everyday is a blessing but some days have more sparkle than others, don’t you think! After having lunch with a dear friend who’s having difficulties at work, she headed back to work and I headed to the mall to take a break from running and to walk around the mall instead to log a mile or 2.

I purchased a sweater at New York & Co on sale, of course ($9.99). I have not shopped here in years and learned that my card had been canceled for lack of use. But the clerk said if I reactivate it, I’d get another 15% off my $9.99 sweater! Sounds like a good deal. The clerk asked for my drivers license.

And then she said, “Happy belated birthday. So what did you do on your birthday? “Funny you should ask,” I replied.

I told her about spending my birthday with Jon as he got chemo. I told her how a few days earlier I ran 60 miles for Jon’s healing and for my birthday. She couldn’t believe it!

She asked about Jon and said, “I’ll put him on my prayer list.”

I was visibly a little emotional, apologized, and thanked her.

“Oh, it’s OK. I know what you are going through. My mother has survived breast cancer twice. There’s a lot of cancer in my family.”

And then she asked how Jon is doing. I eagerly told her. “He’s doing great. His tumors are shrinking. He’s still working. And he wants me to find him a salt-n-pepper wig at the mall. He’s losing his hair.”

We both chuckled and she said, “That’s so good. He has a sense of humor.”

As she placed the sweater in the bag, she said with a smile. “There’s a reason you stopped in today.” “Yes, there is. God is good,” I said.

As I paid for my sweater, I made a small donation to St. Jude. Before we parted, I asked her name. “Thanks Stacey,” I said. She said, “Wait. Let me write your husband’s name down on a piece of paper. I will pray for him.”

There are angels among us. Total strangers who care, who give you just a little more strength and positive energy to make your day sparkle just a little bit more.

I told Jon about Stacey. We went for a 2 mile walk after I got home. Staying strong! More chemo tomorrow. Keep the prayers coming! Be an angel! Be the sparkle in someone’s life. ~ end of my journal entry.

Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash

Today the Covid-19 pandemic continues to surge. People continue to die. Jon and I wear our masks. I continue to run for Jon’s continued healing. Jon is in remission from stage 4 cancer. We are grateful.

And I wonder about Stacey, my angel on that day. I can’t go back to the mall and look for her at New York & Co. Today New York & Co. and many more retail stores are gone forever due to the pandemic.

We can’t control most things — like cancer and pandemics. But we can control how we react to them and how we can be present for people and perfect strangers in their time of need. We can be angels. We can be the sparkle in someone’s life just when they need it the most.

There is a reason certain people are brought together.

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Miriam Diaz-Gilbert

My debut memoir Come What May, I Want to Run: A Memoir of the Saving Grace of Ultrarunning in Overwhelming Times is published. Website: