46: Angel on a Dusty Road

46: Angel on a Dusty Road

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen

Angel on a Dusty Road

The guardian angels of life fly so high as to be beyond our sight, but they are always looking down upon us.

~Jean Paul Richter

My husband Dave and I were traveling to a mission station. We had enjoyed a breathtaking sunset over the Mexican landscape, appreciating the various forms of cactus and their black silhouettes against the setting sun. It was nearly dark. As we approached five young children standing along the left side of the road, my husband slowed the car—not knowing what one of the little ones might do. The littlest one started across the road, then returned to the other children. We noticed the older ones scolding her for running into the road, but we continued to drive slowly, still being uncertain of the little one’s behavior. Being teachers, we knew the unpredictable behavior of children. We were in a foreign country and took every possible precaution.

When we reached where the children stood, the littlest one again darted across the road. A split second later, we saw her head disappear beneath the center of our car’s hood. In that same split second, we heard that heart-stopping, terrifying thud. It happened so suddenly we didn’t have time to think. She disappeared beneath the hood of our car as we heard the awful thud. The car jerked to the right, dropping into a rock-lined ditch.

As the car came to a screeching halt, our brains could not comprehend what had just happened. We had killed a little girl on the way to minister to others. Although I am ashamed to admit it, my first thought was to run… run from the reality of what had just occurred to the safety of my own country, to the farthest possible place from this stretch of road. I had never killed even an animal on the road. Now I was facing this nightmare.

There was a crowd of women and men with their machetes standing around. That frightened us even more, for there had been only the children just moments before. From where had those people come, and what did those men plan to do with those machetes? The women were speaking to the children in Spanish. The men said nothing—they stood there, their faces grim, hands on their machetes. We were terrified.

My husband had stepped to the side of the group in an attempt to watch the men, so that he would not be taken by surprise if they decided to use those awful-looking things. He would do what he could to protect me, but what were his chances against several men, obviously upset, carrying machetes?

Then we saw the little girl—not lying under our car or on the side of the road. She was standing with the children with whom she had been waiting to cross the road! She had a few scratches on her face and one on her arm, but other than that she seemed fine.

I had taken Spanish in high school and college, but I forgot nearly all of it in the terrifying fear of the moment. We stayed a few minutes longer, then slowly made our way back to the car. We were concerned about sudden movements because we did not want to frighten any of the adults standing nearby—especially the men with those machetes! My husband looked under the car, certain that we had ruptured the oil pan or damaged another part of the undercarriage.

Convinced that everything seemed in order, Dave slid behind the wheel and slowly drove away. He commented as we left that it was miraculous the car had suffered no damage, considering that the drop off was cluttered with jagged-looking rocks.

We had not even taken time to do a final check of the front of the car. That was not on our list of priorities at the moment. The little girl was safe, and that was all that mattered. With our hearts in our throats and prayers of thanksgiving in our hearts, we drove the remainder of the way that night in silence. Perhaps we simply were not able to put into words the terrible experience we had encountered, but I know both of us were offering up our own words of disbelief at what we had seen and been spared.

Later at the hotel I was in our room unpacking, and my husband was outside near the car. He needed time alone to process what had happened, and I let him have his privacy. If he wanted to talk, he would come to me.

A few minutes later, the hotel room door opened and I heard, “Carol, come out here. I want you to see something.” My heart stopped. Was I going to see pieces of that little girl’s skin hanging from a part of the car? Was I going to see her blood smeared on the paint?

“Come and look at this car.” Dave took me to the front of the car and, in utter shock, I saw no dent in any part of the car’s hood or grill. How could that be? We had seen her head disappear there. We had heard the thud.

“Now come and look at the driver’s side of the car.” I thought he had saved the worst for last. The car had accumulated a lot of dust on that dirty road, but in the glare of the hotel’s parking lot lights I could see it.

There, running the full length of the car, was the evidence. The image of a little hand had made its path in the dust. Five little fingers had coursed their way the full length of the car. We stood in absolute silence, staring at each other, as the reality of what had occurred made its way into our minds and spirits.

We had had an encounter with an angel on that dusty Mexican road. A little girl’s life had been spared and, perhaps, ours as well. Dave and I knew an angel had pushed that little girl out of the path of our oncoming car. That priceless child had her angel come to her in her time of need—when it was literally a matter of life and death.

~Carol Goodman Heizer

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