29: The White Owl

29: The White Owl

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Touched by an Angel

The White Owl

Don’t look for God in the sky; look within your own body.


It was a low time for me. Matt, my husband of almost thirty years, had died after battling cancer for seven years. Our four children were all married now and had left, the last two just a couple of months before we lost their dad. I felt like I was not needed anymore. For the first time in my life I lived totally alone in our big farmhouse, the closest neighbor half a mile away. The three miles to the village were gravel road, lined here and there by trees and bushes, and not always passable in bad weather. From there it was twenty miles of open highway to the city of Winnipeg.

I was lonely. That winter I joined a widow support group in the city, which met once a week. Driving home from a meeting one night it had started to snow. The visibility was not too bad on the highway, but by the time I had reached our gravel road the snow got heavier, coming down thick and slow, almost like a curtain.

Suddenly a large white owl flew straight across my windshield, almost touching it, totally blocking my view. My heart almost stopped. I couldn’t believe the size of that bird! Automatically my foot hit the brake pedal. The car slowed, coming to a complete stop just by Remi’s bridge.

Before me on the narrow bridge stood three deer, motionless, mesmerized by the lights of the car — a doe and her two young ones, a fascinating picture with snowflakes reflecting the brilliant light. For a moment they kept staring, then sauntered off past the car and disappeared into the bushes.

I sat there, stunned and shaking, awed by the beauty and wonder of the moment as I burst into tears. The owl had been our family emblem, since our family name means owl tree.

It slowly dawned on me that the snowy white owl flying across my windshield had been my guardian angel warning me to slow down. At the speed I had been driving, I would have been unable to stop in time. I would have hit the deer and crashed into the stone sides of the bridge.

A warmth spread over me like a cozy blanket — I was not alone!

Thank you, my guardian angel!

I realized I still had a life to live, that God must have something in mind for me to do yet. I promised myself I would try my hardest to scramble out of my pit of sadness.

Slowly I drove the last half-mile home with new hope in my heart for the future.

~Anne Ullenboom Van Humbeck

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