An Angel Story

I grew up in a home where guardian angels were as real to me as each of my nine siblings. As I child, I felt a sense of peace knowing that I had my own personal angel watching over me. Later, as a mother, I have continued praying to angels each night for help watching over my children. There was one time in particular that I know those prayers were answered.

The winter of 1996 was a ferocious one; with a constant onslaught of ice, snow, and more ice. My six children and I had been stuck in the house for days because of the inclement weather. When the sun finally came appeared our family was excited to head to my mother’s house where my sister was meeting us for an afternoon of sledding on the neighbor’s hill. The road leading up to my mother’s driveway was steep and our car’s tires started spinning at the bottom, but after several tries we made it about halfway up, where my husband David parked on some bare patches of rock and gravel. As soon as he stopped the car, the children tumbled out and ran to the hill adjacent to the road where their cousins were already sledding. Our 14-year-old daughter Beth assured us she would take care of 3-year-old Matthew so we could go in the house and visit. Less than half an hour later, 10-year-old Michael ran into the house breathlessly announcing, “The car slid backwards and almost killed us! Beth jumped in and saved us!” David ran out the door and I rushed to the front window where I could see the car at the top of the neighbor’s hill, in the opposite direction than it had been parked. The children had already resumed their sledding and no one was hurt, so David moved the car to the bottom of the hill, and I thought nothing more of it.  Beth, however, came into the house and was silent for the rest of the visit.

That night, before she went to bed Beth approached me and said quietly, “Mom, I need to tell you what happened at Grandma’s,” and she recounted the full details of what had happened that afternoon.

She and Matthew were sitting on one sled at the top of the hill, along with her brother Michael and cousin Michelle on another sled. The other children were already at the bottom of the hill when Beth heard the car rolling down the driveway, 30 yards behind them. She hadn’t heard it start and suddenly realized that the car was sliding directly towards them with no one in it. She jumped up.

“I don’t remember running, Mom, or even opening the car door, but all of a sudden I was there, the door was open, and I jumped in, slammed on the brakes and turned the wheel. The car slid sideways, caught on gravel, and stopped. I looked out and Matthew was standing there, just a couple feet away.”

Her voice breaking with emotion, she continued,” If the car hadn’t stopped, it would have run over Matthew. He would be dead.” Her eyes filled with tears, and I hugged her, a chill going down my spine as I realized the full impact of what she had just said.

Tucking Michael into bed later, I asked what he had seen. “I heard the car, but I just thought Dad was going to get gas or something. Then I heard Beth gasp and jump up, and all of a sudden she was in the car. I didn’t see her run or open the door, she was just there.”

In an instant, I could have lost one or more of my children in a freak accident that day. Both my children remembered Beth jumping up one second, and being in the car the next. I wondered how Beth could possibly have risen from the sled, ran up the driveway, opened the door and jumped in so quickly. I knew the answer: she couldn’t have, at least not without some divine help. Beth said it before I did, when I hugged her again before bed. “It had to be angels, Mom, helping me get to the car.”

You can bet I thanked those angels before I slept that night.

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