86: The Guardian

86: The Guardian

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and More

The Guardian

We all have a guardian angel, sent down from above. To keep us safe from harm and surround us with their love.

~Author Unknown

While giving my very first presentation as a sales director, I was motioned out of the conference room to take an urgent phone call. On the other end of the line, I heard my husband’s shaky voice informing me that our twelve-year-old son had not returned home from walking the dog that afternoon.

I felt my knees buckle. Well, there it was, something that all parents dread. The world was full of evil people waiting to snatch unsuspecting children from their parents. Hadn’t I read at least a hundred news articles about such crimes? Yet, we had always been so careful; we had taught our son about “stranger danger” and the importance of staying close to home. Still… somewhere deep inside, I knew this day was coming. I knew it in the same way I feared accidental drownings, chokings, and sudden infant death syndrome.

I told my team there was a family emergency and began the forty-minute drive to my house. By the time I arrived home, every possible scenario that my son could have experienced had played out vividly in my mind.

Because it had only been two hours since my son had put the dog back in the fence and then disappeared, the police weren’t going to get involved right away. So our neighbors and family members had formed a search party and were already combing the woods around our neighborhood when I pulled into our driveway. I wanted to be out in the streets, shouting my son’s name and searching the alleyways with everyone else, but I was encouraged to stay near the phone in case there was a call.

I was so deep in meditation and prayer that I nearly tossed the phone across the room when it suddenly rang. Please don’t be bad news, I thought, and then answered.

“Hey,” came the voice of my aunt, “I just wanted you to know that he is okay.” The tone of her voice caused me to relax automatically. She must have learned some good news!

“Oh! Thank God!” I squealed. “How do you know?”

“I was praying, and God gave me a vision. I saw him lying in the woods, using his backpack for a pillow, and I saw a guardian angel with outstretched hands standing over him,” my aunt explained.

“Asleep? In the woods? No, he would never do that. He’s afraid to go into the woods, and it’s getting dark. Are you sure he was asleep? Maybe he was dead. Could it have been eternal sleep?”

My aunt was considered to be a bit of a “Jesus freak” by several people in my family because of her deep faith, but so many of her dreams and visions had been eerily accurate over the years that even the most serious of doubters had to take notice.

“No, he is not dead,” she assured me. “He is sleeping, and an angel is watching over him. I’m going to bed now that I know he’s safe. Goodnight.” The phone clicked. I sat alone in my bedroom, still holding the receiver to my ear, half-expecting to hear more, but there was only silence.

I dashed to my son’s bedroom, and sure enough, his backpack was missing. Why hadn’t I noticed that before? I scanned the room for other missing items, but everything seemed to be in place.

After several hours, we were informed that our son had been dropped off at the police station, alive and well. So like clowns in a circus car, our entire entourage piled into one vehicle and headed out to retrieve him.

When we returned home, my son explained that he had decided to run away because he had made his first “C” on a progress report and did not want to stick around for the consequences. So he packed his backpack with Goldfish crackers (in case he got hungry on his trip) and his collection of baseball cards (in case he needed to sell them for food), and headed into the sewers to avoid being seen by anyone. He didn’t count on the sewers curving in all directions, so when he emerged, he found himself in unfamiliar territory.

He said a lady stopped her car and reminded him that he was out after curfew, but he assured her he was on his way home. By then, however, he was completely lost and running out of Goldfish crackers. Because it was getting dark, and he was in a bad area of town, my son decided to travel through the woods, rather than on the streets. So he made his way through the trails in the woods until he grew weary and decided to take a break. Using his backpack for a pillow, he curled up under a tree and took a nap.

“I don’t know how long I had been asleep,” my son continued, “but something made me wake up. I had the strangest feeling that someone was watching me, and when I looked around, I saw a man standing just a few feet away, holding his arms out and watching me sleep. At first, I thought he was a tree because he was so tall and he was standing so still. Plus, his arms seemed super-long like branches. But then I realized it was a man, and I grabbed my backpack and didn’t stop running until I reached the street.”

The same lady who had pulled up beside him a few hours earlier pulled up again and told him to get in her car.

“What! You got in the car with a stranger? Son! What have I told you about that?” I scolded.

“I know, Mom,” my son answered, “but I was tired, and she seemed nice. She took me to the police station.”

Even though my son had broken the cardinal rule and accepted a ride from a stranger, I was grateful for that particular stranger because she had done the right thing. I decided to call the police station the next day and get her name in order to properly thank her. When I called the station, however, I was told the only name she left was “Alpha.”

Later that night, I heard my husband telling my son that he had done the right thing by “running away from the weirdo in the woods.” I just smiled, and silently thanked a woman named Alpha and a very tall, weird man who watched over my sleeping boy and brought him safely home to me.

~Cynthia Zayn

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