49: A Voice in the Night

49: A Voice in the Night

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Touched by an Angel

A Voice in the Night

Angels are speaking to all of us… some of us are only listening better.

~Author Unknown

It was nearly 1:00 a.m. and my eyes felt sandy and heavy. I was walking through my apartment, doing last-minute mundane tasks before allowing myself to go to bed. As a single mother working two jobs, sleep was precious, and every day I counted the hours until the next time I could sink into my mattress and pull the covers over my head.

I had started my day as usual at 6:00 a.m., trying to get myself ready for work and my two girls ready to go to school and to the babysitter. Twelve hours later, I was rushing to get to my second job, having picked up both girls, fed them a quick dinner, and driven them to the next babysitter. When I finally got off at 10:00 p.m., I knew that sleep was still a few hours away. I needed to pick up the girls, get them home, listen to them tell me about their days, get them into their pajamas, and tell them a story, all while trying to avoid rushing them. They were so happy to see me!

When they were finally asleep, as much as I too wanted to close my eyes, I knew my day was far from over. Laundry needed to be done, lunches and bags needed to be packed for the next day, mail needed to be sorted and bills to be paid. A pile of dirty dishes, caked with breakfast residue, glared at me from the counter. A sticky substance on the kitchen floor halted my footsteps, and food wrappers left lying on the couch reminded me that I needed to make sure the girls ate at the table in the future. I checked my phone messages and e-mails to see if I needed to address anything important. At last, my growling tummy reminded me that I hadn’t eaten since lunch. I made myself a quick snack, brushed my teeth, made sure the apartment door was locked, shut off all the lights, then collapsed into bed without even changing my clothes.

I was nearly asleep when I heard a voice. I jumped, thinking that I had been dreaming. Then I heard it again.

“Go make sure the door is locked.”

I settled back into bed, comforted that I distinctly remembered checking the door. Then again: “Go make sure the door is locked.”

I was beat. I was comfortable. I was positive that I had already locked the door. I nestled into my pillow.

“Get up. Go make sure the door is locked. Now.”

There was urgency in the voice this time and by now I was questioning whether I had indeed locked the door. As I stood and reached my arm forward to turn on my bedroom light, the voice came again.

“Leave the light off.”

I questioned the wisdom of leaving the light off. What if I tripped over some forgotten toy? What if I ran into a wall that wasn’t where I thought it should be?

“Do not turn on the light.”

By now I was getting irritated by the commands of “the voice,” but in an effort to obey as quickly as possible so I could get back to bed, I decided to get it over with. I felt my way through the darkened living room and dining room and stepped into the kitchen to check the door.

Instead, what I saw made me gasp.

A bright flame flickered from one of the burners on my gas stove, vivid blue against the black of night. In my fatigued state before going to bed, I had forgotten to turn off the burner after my snack. I hurried to turn on a light, then quickly shut off the burner.

I slumped against the kitchen wall in both humility and awe. What if, in my stubbornness, I had refused to get out of bed? What if I had failed to heed the voice’s admonition to leave the lights off? Would I have stumbled into the bright kitchen, walked right past the glowing flame again, checked the door, and then ridiculed myself for being paranoid? More importantly, would my girls and I, along with the others in the apartment building, have survived that night?

Then, and even now, I thank the angel whose voice in the night saved my family from a fiery fate.

~Randi O’Keefe

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