5: Angel on Board

5: Angel on Board

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and the Unexplainable

Angel on Board

An angel can illuminate the thought and mind of man by strengthening the power of vision.

~St. Thomas Aquinas

Little voices chattered in the back seat — a mix of nonsense, songs, and the unique communication that occurs between young children that only they understand. The day was bright and sunny, and the usual traffic was moving along the four lanes headed south on California Highway 101.

For this young mother at the wheel, it was a good day so far — no one was fighting or crying yet. I pushed the “On” button, flooding the red-and-white Suburban with music. I always liked to sing along. Sometimes, the kids would try to join in, kicking their little feet or clapping their chubby hands in time to the funky beat of the music that characterized Marin County in the early 1980s. We were headed to the medical clinic for a well check for one of the kids. Life was good.

Motherhood had always been my fondest dream, and I was acutely aware of that little slice of time that makes up the tender years of one’s children. I knew my good fortune, and I cherished it. The only unease that lurked below this happy surface had to do with their father; our relationship was not good. But today I didn’t want to think about any of that.

All three of my children were delightful in their own precious ways. The oldest and youngest had always been easygoing; they ate heartily, nursed to sleep, and slept well. The middle child was different. I couldn’t put my finger on quite what it was, but she had some kind of connection with the unseen, even as an infant. If ever I happened to open even one eye while in my bed (in a separate room), she knew I was awake and cried or called out to me. She was very “tuned in,” you might say, and had a unique way of being in the world.

As we cruised along with the traffic, this middle child piped up with a question. “Mommy, where do we go when we die?”

Oh, my! Quickly, I asked myself, What are my beliefs on that? And how to explain them to a three-year-old in a way she might understand? The kids went to Sunday school and were learning something about the concept of God. They said prayers every night with me. But I wasn’t really prepared for questions about death.

“Well, honey, you know how you learn about God at Sunday school? When we die, many people believe we go to heaven to be with God.”

“Oh, that’s good,” her cheerful little voice replied. “Because we’re going there right now!”

My hands froze on the wheel. My heart stopped. What can she mean? I checked my speed and carefully applied the brakes. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw it: a blue car careening across three lanes of traffic, heading right for us. I hit the brakes harder, and the vehicle roared across our lane, just in front of us! I heard the squealing of tires and watched pieces of black rubber fly through the air.

The orderly lanes of traffic were now a confused jumble of vehicles, each trying to avoid a crash. Everything screeched into slow motion as drivers carefully made for the side of the road or continued bravely on their way. The distressed vehicle came to rest in the middle median, stopped by the large oleander bushes. Miraculously, no cars had collided with it or with each other.

If I had not braked when my daughter spoke up, the out-of-control car would have broadsided us at high speed. I shuddered at the thought, at the tragedy our lives could have become in that lightning flash of time. Deep breathing helped me regain control, but I kept a tight grip on the wheel.

How are the kids? I glanced in the rearview mirror. They continued to chatter and play, buckled safely in their car seats. Then my foresighted daughter caught my eye and gave me what can only be described as a knowing smile. We had a guardian angel on board that day!

Did she have a special connection with God and the angels? Or was she herself the angel? All I can say for sure is this: That was not the only day when, as a small child, she received a message from God.

~Sallianne Hines

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