91: Warned and Petted by an Angel

91: Warned and Petted by an Angel

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Touched by an Angel

Warned and Petted by an Angel

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.

~Epictetus

January 28, 2014, I sat on the couch watching the news. A winter storm watch was in effect over the Atlanta, Georgia area. I laughed at the reported two to three inches of expected snow and all the hoopla about it. Coming from New Jersey, there were winters we had that amount several times a week and we went about business as usual. As a matter of fact, I had just been home two weeks before and a few inches of snow had fallen. I couldn’t wait to get back out in the snow.

Now reporters were telling viewers not to venture out if possible. An aerial view of I-20, the major near me, showed bumper-to-bumper traffic. I was glad that I didn’t have to travel over the major highway to get to the store and pick up some groceries.

I looked out the window. Snow was steadily but lightly coming down, gently covering everything it touched. Since the store was less than ten minutes away, and I was used to driving in this kind of weather, I felt no need to rush out. So I continued watching the news as I made a mental list of the groceries I needed.

Schools and businesses closed around noon. By 4:30 p.m. I figured traffic should’ve died down and ventured out. I took a side street, and was surprised to find myself stuck in more traffic and without the ability to turn around.

Finally, after more than an hour, I reached the store. Then after almost an hour’s wait in line and with nothing in my cart that I actually went to get, I went back out into the now two inches of snow and freezing rain. The streets had become parking lots. It hadn’t crossed my mind that although I knew how to deal with this kind of weather, the people of Atlanta didn’t.

A shopping trip that would have usually taken me roughly an hour took me almost four hours, with three spent driving. There were fender benders, abandoned cars, and vehicles that had slid off the roads. Panicked people were walking, standing around, talking on their phones or sitting in their cars waiting for help that couldn’t get through. I slowly drove, inching, stopping, easing, and weaving in and out through the maze of honking horns and stranded, angry drivers and their riders.

By the time I got back home, the weather had gotten worse. It was dark, late, freezing cold and I felt as though I had gone fifteen rounds in a boxing ring. Tired and aggravated, I pulled into the garage, opened the door to the house, let my dog out and dragged the bags to the kitchen counter before calling Max back in and closing the door.

After putting the food away and fixing something to eat, I closed the blinds, checked the doors and went upstairs to put on warm pajamas, turn the TV on low and settle into my recliner with a blanket and a good book. Max jumped onto the bed, took his usual place at the foot, and dozed off. I followed suit shortly after, but was suddenly awakened by a voice telling me to shut my garage door. Still half asleep and somewhat disoriented, I sat up in my chair, looked around and chuckled to myself as I thought about how real the dream seemed and how loud the voice sounded.

With heavy eyes, I leaned back into my chair when, out of the blue, Max jumped up, looked towards the bedroom doorway and barked like crazy. I looked over and said, “Calm down, boy. Calm down.” But then he jumped off the bed, ran towards the doorway and looked up as if looking at somebody and continued barking madly. Then he did the strangest thing. He stopped barking and, tail wagging, lay down and turned onto his back, the way he does when he’s being petted. Then he jumped up and came running to me, barking and looking back towards the doorway. Tail still wagging, looking up and barking frantically, he ran back and forth from me to the doorway. Finally, I checked the alarm system and looked up and down the hall and stairway. Not seeing anything out of the ordinary, I decided to get in bed and call it a night. I was exhausted.

Snuggling comfortably in my blankets, I anxiously watched Max as he continued with this unusual behavior. Then I remembered what seemed like an audible voice telling me to shut the garage door. Thinking it was just a dream, but that maybe I should check anyway, I went downstairs. Sure enough, the door leading to the garage was locked. But when I opened it, to my utmost surprise, the garage door was wide open! Without that voice, I would’ve never thought to go down and check.

As I hit the button and the garage door slowly came down, Max barked and ran to the edge. He lay on his side and rolled onto his back, silent, but the wagging tail let me know he was enjoying something. Then he jumped up, came to me and faced the closing garage door, barking again. Suddenly the garage door stopped, as it always does when something passes by the sensors. I pushed the button again and the door continued to close.

Max, now calm and quiet, and I, in total astonishment but with indebted thanks, went back upstairs. I settled in bed and Max as usual settled at the foot. We were quite satisfied with our angel encounter. I had been warned, he had been petted, and both of us, along with the house, had been protected just before the power went out.

~Francine L. Baldwin-Billingslea

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