Ever since I wrote a column about angels last week, the stories just keep coming. They arrive in my inbox every morning by the bucketful. Here are a few:
BILL—1978, it’s morning rush hour and I’m headed to UAB for class. I hit a large patch of oil, lose control of my car, somehow cross four lanes of traffic without being hit, bust through the fence at Elmwood Cemetery, hit a tombstone that weighs over a ton, and total my Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme.
I’m not wearing a seat belt (remember, it’s 1978), yet I am completely unhurt.
1980, 2AM, I am home on leave from the Navy, headed to my parents’ house. I’m approaching a railroad crossing that doesn’t have signals. Suddenly, I hear a shout. A voice.
So I slam the brakes. My car stops, a loud whistle blows, a single light appears from the woods, and a few seconds later a train rushes past. I’m shaking so badly that I can barely grip the gear shift.
1993, afternoon, the Warrior River. I’m about to water ski. An overwhelming feeling tells me to put on my life jacket, a feeling I simply can’t ignore. This feeling was unlike any I’d ever had. It was so strong that it was like I’d actually heard it. As I snapped that last strap of my life jacked, the most horrible accident began to unfold. An accident that caused death and sorrow beyond imagination. An accident that I will not describe here.
I should have been killed, but I wasn’t. I was terribly injured, but many attribute my survival to that life jacket.
So, if you see me raise four fingers sometime, know that it will always represent those three specific times God absolutely, positively saved my life. And the fourth finger? Well, that’s for all those times that I never knew about.
KIT—In the 1970s I was staying with a friend in Savannah who lived in the most beautiful part of Chatham County.
It was a peaceful place on the Vernon River. That Friday night, I was happily falling asleep after enjoying several adult beverages of the shaken-not-stirred variety.
Suddenly, I was wide awake. Something was pushing me out of bed to get up and pray. So I called my friend and we started praying for my sister. We prayed for a few minutes and then fell asleep.
Early the next morning my mother called and said my sister had spent the night in the emergency room after her husband had rolled their VW bug down an embankment. My sister had flown head first out the window.
The Georgia Highway Patrol was first on the scene, and had called for the morgue van before they even walked to the car. And yet, after full body scans, my sister was found to have only a small bruise on her back as a souvenir. The ER doctors couldn’t believe she wasn’t injured.
SPRING—I was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia in 1995. I was admitted to the hospital and began treatment the following day. My first treatment did not bode well. I went into shock and ended up in the PICU. Doctors didn’t know what was wrong with me and told my parents I wouldn’t live through the night.
God had other plans.
VIVIAN—My son had been stationed in Hawaii until they flew his unit to Fort Polk, in Louisiana to go through maneuvers for thirty days. My husband and I were driving down from central Arkansas to get him.
We had never been to Fort Polk before. The military maneuvers were conducted in a desolate area where there was nothing but trees, fields, and darkness. No visible moon or stars that night. No stores, no buildings, no lights within sight.
My son told us to look for the abandoned, unlit farmhouse, where eight soldiers were going to stay and wait for rides that night.
When we reached Fort Polk, we saw nothing. There was nothing visible except for a convenience store-slash-gas station. The attendant had no idea about the farmhouse where these eight young men were waiting. He just pointed in the direction of Fort Polk.
That night we took turns and twists that got us nowhere. I was concerned we were seriously lost in this maze and that my son might be the last one waiting by himself. No cell phones back then, of course.
We kept traveling until, out of nowhere, there appeared in the headlights a lone soldier wearing a camouflage uniform and cap. He was walking slowly toward us.
We slowed to a stop. We asked if the man knew where the farmhouse was, and about our son.
He said, “Sure, your son’s just a mile or two down the road.” He said there were guys waiting on the porch, and he obviously seemed to know what was happening. That was a relief for this worrying mama, so I leaned over to the window and thanked him.
But as we left, I turned to look out the back window to see where he was walking, and he was nowhere. He was not seen in the rearview mirror. We stopped, thinking our brake lights would provide more light, but neither of us could see the man anywhere. He was gone. This was the middle of nowhere.
When we pulled up to the farmhouse, all eight soldiers were waiting on the porch. We loaded up my son’s baggage and started telling him how glad we were that one of the soldiers had been out walking.
My son said, “What soldier?”
All we could do was describe the man who helped us. But my son said it was impossible, there had been only eight men there.
LISA—My teenage kids were going bowling with a group of friends. My daughter was in the front seat with her then-boyfriend, and he was driving. My son and two friends were in the backseat.
They were stopped at an intersection which has seen a number of accidents over the years. My daughter was looking for a CD in the glove box. Her boyfriend was talking with a girl in the back seat. My son and the other passenger were talking to each other.
No one was paying attention to the road.
Suddenly a man’s voice shouts loudly, “Look out!”
They have almost no time to brace for the head-on collision. Thankfully, they all escaped with almost no injuries. It was truly a miracle, as the driver of the car that hit them did sustain injuries.
After we had gotten our two kids home and asked all the “what really happened” questions, and we got the story.
One of us asked, “Who shouted ‘Look out’ to you?”
My son and the other person in the backseat said it wasn’t them. My daughter said to her boyfriend, “It wasn’t me, I was looking for a CD, I thought it was you.”
The boyfriend said, “It wasn’t me, I was looking back at Stacey.”
I can only imagine their angel holding that car like Superman does with runaway locomotives, protecting my kiddos from impact.
JAN—I gave birth to my daughter six weeks prematurely (36 years ago). I had been given an overdose of a drug to stop premature labor and it caused a mild stroke. I was air-lifted to a hospital where she was delivered by Caesarean section.
On the third night that she was in the NICU, I was sleeping in my hospital room when I was awakened by a male nurse.
The male nurse calmly said, “Wake up, Gloria needs you.”
I arose by the only light in the room which seemed to shine from his brilliant white uniform. He had bronze skin and dark brown eyes.
I felt a sense of peace as I put on my bedroom shoes and followed the nurse down the hallway. There was no fear, just a slight sense of urgency to go to Gloria.
When I entered the NICU, I saw a medical person standing by Gloria‘s incubator, trying to draw blood from Gloria’s foot. The nurse had not been able to find a vein and the doctor had been trying to draw blood unsuccessfully.
The nurse knew Gloria was in pain from the procedure. She looked at me and said, “Oh, thank God you’re here.”
So I comforted Gloria until she stopped crying.
Later that day, I asked about the male nurse who visited my room. I wanted to thank him for waking me up to check on Gloria when she needed me.
They told me there were no male nurses. Furthermore, all nurses wore green uniforms.
I will always remember Gloria’s guardian Angel.
LISA—We lost my beautiful nephew a few years ago to an overdose. We thought he was doing better, he was in a treatment facility and had started a prayer group and kept in touch, but then he slipped. And the result shattered our family.
My now 96 year old mom (Granny) could barely cope. She cried constantly and the grief was really taking a toll on her. Granny stopped eating and had trouble sleeping, suffering nightmares and she would wake up crying, calling me in the mornings.
Then one night, in a dream, my late nephew visited her. He sang a hymn to her and told her that everything was okay now. Granny woke up and jotted down a few lines of the hymn, then fell into a much needed deep sleep.
Later, we asked Granny about the hymn. She read me the lyrics, but I have searched and searched, it doesn’t seem to exist. Still, whatever song it was, the tune brought Granny the comfort she desperately sought.
CONNIE—When I was 20 we went to Italy to see my dad’s family. While coming from the Rome airport on a crowded “autostrade,” we blew a tire and went into a spin. On one side of the highway was a valley, on the other oncoming traffic.
When the car stopped, the back of the truck was ripped off, and the vehicle was on fire. I was holding on to my little sister and cousin by their shirts and shoulders.
One car stopped on the vacant road, and two young men ran across the highway, carrying black bags. They were medical students heading back to medical school in Rome from the weekend. They treated us for minor cuts and bleeding, they called for EMTs, but more importantly they helped my cousin with her Cerebral Palsy. They were able to calm her shakes from the fright of the accident by applying pressure on pressure points on her body. She finally stopped shaking uncontrollably.
The next day I went to church in Pompeii and prayed thanks in front of a mosaic of the Blessed Mother. I was overcome with tears and felt someone embracing me. I thought it was my mom who had come up from behind to hug me, when I turned around, I was alone in the pew.
I know it was an angel who gave me comfort and protected us on that crazy Highway in Rome.
ME—Please, whatever you do, don’t ever stop sending me your angel stories.