Things Are Not Always As They Seem

There is an old story that I remember went something like this: Two angels were walking upon the earth in the garb of human beings, one was an elder angel and the other a young angel who was traveling and learning from the elder.  

They had walked a long way and were tired as evening was approaching.  They came to a large, wealthy looking, well-manicured home with several large outbuildings. They knocked on the door and explained they were travelers who were hungry and tired and asked if they could please have lodging and food for the night. The grumpy man who answered the door said that he had no room for them and nothing to spare, but that they could spend the night in his barn and eat the slop with the pigs.  So, they bedded down in the barn as best they could on some unsoiled hay and ate the filth in the pig trough. It was a thoroughly miserable night.  They noticed as they lay down to sleep that there was a small hole in the wall behind them in one corner of the stable.    

In the morning, when the younger angel awoke, he discovered that the elder one had patched the hole in the wall. They set out on the road again, still hungry, and now sore.  The younger angel said, “I do not understand – he obviously could have fed us decent food and let us stay in comfort, but he was so miserly he did not, and yet you fixed his wall for him! Why…??”

The elder angel answered, “Things are not always as they seem!”, and then fell silent.  

That night, after another long day’s journey, they came upon a poor, dilapidated farm house and noticed one spindly cow in the small field nearby. The farmer and his wife both greeted them at the door. Hearing their tale, the elderly couple who lived there welcomed them into their home, saying, “We do not have much, but you may sleep in our bed tonight, and we will sleep on the floor. And you can share dinner with us, such as it is – a loaf of bread, some cheese, and milk from our cow.  We barely get by selling her milk in the village. I am sorry we cannot offer you more.”  The two angels expressed their gratitude for the couple’s kindness and slept well that night after dinner.  

They awoke in the morning to the sound of the woman crying. They went to the kitchen to find the man comforting his sobbing wife at the table. The younger angel asked them what had happened. The man answered sadly, “In the middle of the night our cow died.”  The elder angel said a brief prayer and some words of comfort before the two angels took their leave and were on the road again.

The younger angel said: “I do not understand. This couple had so little and yet were so generous to us, and you did nothing to help them! You even allowed their cow to die!  Why?”   The elder angers answered, “Things are not always as they seem”, and continued walking.

After several hours the young one spoke up again, distraught. “No, this is not right! It should not be this way. The grumpy wealthy man offers us nothing, and you fix the hole in his wall.  The kindly couple opened their hearts and home to us, and you did nothing to help them at all! Why? I need to understand. And please do not just say that things are not always as they seem!”

The elder angel stopped walking and looked at his young companion. With a sigh he explained, “While you slept in the straw in the barn, I explored what was behind the hole in the wall. It was a vast collection of gold and money and jewels – where the wealthy man hid his treasures.  So I did not fix the wall, as it appeared to you; I sealed it so he can never access it again. 

“And in the case of the elderly couple, I awoke to find the Angel of Death in the house in the middle of the night and asked him why he was here. He pointed to the farmer’s wife as she lay sleeping, and told me he had come for her. I stopped him and said, ‘Take the cow instead.’ ”  

The younger angel said, “So he still has his wife.”  The old angel smiled, “You see, things are not always as they seem.  He will get another cow.”

In my life, in yours, things are not always as they seem. What looks one way often turns out another, and there are hidden blessings going on all around us.  All we need are the eyes to see…and it is the light of love within our hearts that makes that vision possible.


Written by Rev Steven McAffee

With questions and for counselling contact Rev Steven at



“I am my own muse, I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.”

Frida Kahlo (1907 – 1954) Mexican painter

Why do I love the art of Friday Kahlo? I love Frida because she was (is) inspirational. She approached herself with authenticity and honesty. Every piece of artwork she created was a spark of her soul.

Frida had a challenging life, disabled by polio she abandoned her studies to be come a doctor and turned to her passion for the arts. She was mostly unknown to the major part of the world until the 1970’s.

I first learnt about Frida when I visited Mexico in 1989. A friend who knew that I love art took me to the Frida Kahlo museum. I was instantly smitten by her work. Her self-portraits allowed me to see this amazingly self-observant woman, her depth, how feelings, her thoughts, her entire life. I understood that a piece if art can show much more than just what it depicts. Art is not only skin deep.

The Therapeutic-Art Enrichment Group Program can help you bring awareness and light to those places in your consciousness where blocks to your fulfilment hide and it will replenish your Soul.

Conscious Awareness

For me self-awareness is living consciously …

  • being present in what I am doing and how I am doing it; t is often called mindfulness
  • being willing to see what is beyond the surface: to be curious of how that event occurred in the first place
  • allowing what is presented to me, moment by moment, to enter my consciousness by allowing myself to be in it fully
  • stopping to dismiss reoccurring feelings and events and addressing them by investigating them to see if I can make new choices
  • being observant and attentive: apart from being aware of my own state of being I constantly scan my environment to see how others are doing
  • staying non-judgemental and having compassion for myself and others in shared experiences (this is probably the hardest)
  • staying open even when I do not particularly like what I am experiencing and feeling
  • being willing to stay with the uncomfortable until it eases away
  • reminding myself that in the Core of me I am a Divine creature – even though it may not look that way at times 🙂
  • staying curious at all times: I do not turn away from an experience just because it is scary or uncomfortable because every event holds treasures on my way to wholeness (oneness with my Divine Self)

I will run the THERAPEUTIC-ART ENRICHMENT PROGRAM again this yes. This program is all about awareness, mindfulness, embracing, joyful art-making and connecting through ART.


STARTS ON 26 JUNE 2021 for afternoon sessions and ON 10 JULY for morning sessions


  • Gain deeper awareness of yourself – your thoughts and behavioural patterns that may or may not be supporting you in living the life you wish for yourself.
  • Become aware of your strengths, unique abilities, and your true interests, as well as some of your hindering patterns.
  • Discover your Essence – the core of who you are. Building on that, we enquire about your passion, purpose and true vocation.
  • Step towards your dreams using the supportive power of the group.



I wrote this article below recently. The reason why I put my thoughts on paper was because I started to sense how much life there is un-lived in the world. In fear of something or other, we have collectively retrieved to a hamster-wheel kind of life that seemingly provides us with the security we need in order to function well. But functioning well is not living to the fullest.

I recently realised that there is a great deal of pain that has not been dealt with. We perfectly understand that men/women who come back from a war-zone are in in some kind of post traumatic sock. However, when it comes to civilians we do not seem to recognise when we are in sock and/or loss. The COVID-19 Pandemic and its after effects that we are living in right now is one of those times of ‘shock’ that we do not realise. We have been separated from loved ones so we often experience loneliness but we do not seem to notice. We try to move on as quick as possible, going back to our lives as it was though it is often not possible. So, we are at a loss.

As we neglect to acknowledge these feelings, they pile up inside of us and often end up making us feel depressed. Plus, we unknowingly pass our sense of pain down to our children because we leave them unattended. Children tend to be very sensitive to their parents emotional state.

Emotional pain is just like physical pain of a wound. If you leave it unattended it gets infected and spreads.

Often the solution is as simple as sitting down, closing our eyes, scanning the world of your feelings and emotions and embrace them like a child who needs a cuddle. Sometimes it takes more …

In my art-filled courses we use tools that allow you to acknowledge and heal from a sense of loss, from a crisis, and find ways to let go of the past, traumas and sock in order to be able to live your life to the fullest.


Whose pain is it anyway?


I grew up during the socialistic oppression in Hungary. I did not particularly experience growing up traumatic at the time because I was born after the revolution of 1956.

I must have been in my early thirties when during a heated conversation with a colleagues, a trainer called me a ‘nazi’. He did not exactly say that, he said something along the lines of ‘you command and treat your environment like a Nazi officer’. This comment hurt me badly but I could not see why at the time. Years later it dawned on me that the military regime I grew up in had moulded me into an army officer. I had become a savage.

So, one day I set down and started to remember how we had lived and I started to notice the excruciating pain we had endured over those years of  tyranny. During the revolution, my grandfather had to watch his mates being hanged on tries unable to help them.

My grandmother was sent to prison for ‘black-marketing’ that she had been forced to do so she could feed her family. She served three years. During that time, she lost most of her hair and left the prison as a broken person. In the meantime, my mother was raised by her 3-year older sister.

The other side of my family, the bourgeois side, lost everything, because they were marked ‘class-alien’ which meant that they did not belong to the now favoured working classes so most of their possession had been repossessed by the state.

Loss, after loss, after loss. I still do not know how they survived it all. As a result, however, and because they had probably nothing else left to give, they left me with their unresolved pain.

I look at some of my family members’ constant rage and I see how much pain they are in. Somehow, all we can do is to pass our unresolved feelings of loss down onto the next generation, and the next, the next ...

Nobody seems to take the courage to knowledge and deal with the debilitating sorrow we have been living with as a nation for decades.

Isn’t it time?