The First Angel I Ever Met
After I was born, my father served in the Vietnam War for one year. During that period of time, my mom and I moved to my parents’ hometown of Middletown, New York to be close to family during this difficult time. Upon my father’s safe return, he relocated the three of us back to New Jersey to the army base where we lived for the next 4 years. This is also the birthplace of my two brothers.
During my fourth year, I had the tremendous honor of meeting my very first angel. It was on a beautiful late summer day and my incredibly pregnant mother had sent my 2 year old brother and me out to play. We were supposed to stay in the yard, but just couldn’t resist the big fence down the street with the hole in the bottom. The fence was there to keep people, especially young children, out of the sewer drainage ditch. Luckily for us, the hole was just the right size for a 4 year old and her baby brother.
Down on our bellies we went, scooting to see what goodies lay on the other side. It was an awesome sight — flowing water, rocks in all shapes and sizes, tall grass and frogs — just to name a few. We started out by throwing sticks and rocks into the stream. I know it doesn’t sound very exciting, but we were in heaven, away from adult supervision. We felt like fugitives, and it was dangerously fun. Eddie, my brother, stood at the edge and threw a large pebble into the muck with his pudgy little hand. Next thing I know he is floating face down and headed toward the pipe…fast. He was too small to right himself and I was too small to save him.
Let me take a second and explain that to say I was a shy child is an understatement. The only people who I would even contemplate interacting with were my immediate family members and very close friends, which makes the next occurrence so remarkable to me. There was always a lot of activity going on in our neighborhood. For some reason on this particular afternoon, the street was unusually quiet. Suddenly I saw a lone teenage girl walking down the street. My brother’s life was at stake, so I either worked up the courage or simply went into survival mode, and flagged her down by screaming and flailing my arms like mad. I remember hoping beyond all hope that she would notice me. Luckily, I caught her attention and she came to our rescue. She was too big to fit under the pint-size hole so she had to climb the fence. When I think back to that moment, it strikes me at how calm she was.
The only thing I remember from this point on is us standing on the front stoop of our apartment. Whenever I recall this part of the story, it’s as if I am suddenly inside the foyer looking at the scene through my mother’s eyes. She opened the door to her 4 year old daughter and a complete stranger who was holding her son (who happened to be completely covered in green muck). I remember her becoming panicked over what could have happened to her precious boy who was supposed to be playing in the front yard and ripped him out of my hero’s arms. Seconds later when my mom looked up to thank her, our angel was gone. Just like that, she seemed to have vanished into thin air. We never saw her again.
I think about that angel every once in a while and whisper a quiet “thank you.” I can’t even begin to imagine how different my life and my family’s life would be had she not come along at that exact moment. I strongly believe that God has a master plan and my brother was meant to be here, on this Earth, to fulfill his purpose.