Okay Google, play… ‘Angels Among Us’ by Alabama.
Written by Luke Franks.
I was sat in my kitchen today just frying some halloumi in the sandwich grill. My housemate was playing through some songs on Spotify to find new additions to our Halloween playlist (Dancing On The Vents). He ended up clicking on ‘Crazier Than You’ from ‘The Addams Family’ musical. Back in Upper Sixth, my duet partner and I used to vocally chuck this song about in-between run-throughs of the duet we’d be practising for the next SHS concert. I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about that year of singing duets in the music practice room with her, a time I honestly miss quite a lot. And this led me on to thinking about Alabama’s ‘Angels Among Us’.
‘They come to you and me in our darkest hours’
It was in the start of Upper Sixth that I went through a really tough patch emotionally due to a rather nasty breakup with an ex-partner. I remember thinking that I wouldn’t have survived that year without my singing partner, and I wouldn’t have survived without my then-girlfriend. Almost like God had sent me some guardians to help me through those tough times. These last few weeks, I’ve been going through a massive period of reflection and I’ve come to realise that God has since sent me a few more guardians to help me in my times of peril.
Back at the start of lockdown, I started meeting up with my now-former editor. Someone who I’d be friends with for years and somehow had never really spent any time with on a 1–2–1 level. From those meetings spawned a strong creative connection, professional relationship, and a close supportive friendship. I couldn’t have realised back then that she’d end up supporting and pulling me through one of the most difficult times I’ve ever experienced. A time of lockdown, splitting with my girlfriend of two and a half years and then losing my driving freedom as I was diagnosed with epilepsy.
But it doesn’t end there, as recently as a few weeks ago I have been aware of the guidance and protection I’ve received from certain close friends which have caused me to grow and change. I was sat on Discord with my friend playing Minecraft quite late into the evening, and somehow the conditions of the moment allowed us to enter into a deep conversation about various things. This ultimately led to a strong emotional bond being formed. Sadly for her, she also inherited the burden of putting up with drunk emotional me DMing her whatever was bothering me deep down, whilst sat in the shower after a few too many beers on a Friday night. Once again, I never thought in a million years that I’d have that level of friendship with her, to feel comfortable enough to open up as I have recently.
‘But ain’t it kind of funny at the dark end of the road
That someone lights the way with just a single ray of hope’
The term ‘Angels’ for me always felt a bit funny. Despite the mass majority of God’s angels being men, I always think of women when using the word angels (which is why no men are mentioned in this writing, despite many men helping me throughout life). Not only that, but it always feels a bit patronising to refer to someone as an angel, which is ironically the exact opposite of its intended meaning. Alabama’s use of the word ‘angel’ refers to an individual who is strong, compassionate and caring. So strong that they can carry not only their own burdens but share the weight of another’s burdens. So when I refer to these 4 women as ‘angels’, I simply mean they are people I would have not survived without in those times of darkness. I never expected to be supported by them in such a strong way, hence why they’re angels hidden among us.
‘They wear so many faces show up in the strangest places, to grace us with their mercy in our time of need.’
It can be scary to realise that someone was the difference between two very different potential paths of your life. To even think about telling someone how much their words and time matter to you can be enough to turn the strongest person into an insecure wreck. Over time I’ve learnt that you should tell them if they truly affected your life in such a strong way. It’s important to be open about our relationships with each other so that we don’t end up running out of time to tell people how we feel.
That’s what I want you all to take away from this song. Even in our darkest times, you will meet someone who will help you through that lonely abyss, and you may not even realise that this ‘angel’ was the difference between two very different possible timelines of your life. Don’t be scared to tell that person what they did for you. Emotions are scary, but regret is even scarier as well as permanent.
You can listen to the songs recommended in this series each week by listening to the ‘Okay Google, play…’ playlist on Spotify.
The Twitter account for this series (@OkayGooglePlay) has open DMs and I’ll always respond to anyone who messages and try to do my best to help.
I would greatly appreciate any feedback on this article in particular as it is my first article without an editor. On the topic of an editor, if you would be interesting as volunteering as an editor for this series please DM me via @OkayGooglePlay on Twitter.