Monday, September 12, 2011
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The story I’m about to share is true, and I’m writing it in the same way I would tell it to my closest friends. It’s an experience I’ve never forgotten and at the time opened my eyes to—shall we say—possibilities!?
A few summers ago, my husband and I were driving down an old highway on the island where we live. It was a hot day and we’d been spoiling ourselves with ice cream at a local parlour. Both of us spied the two on the side of the road at the same time. Before I could get the words “you can’t leave them here” out of my mouth, he already had the turn signals on and was slowing down near a slim young woman holding a small toddler in her arms. There was an overloaded bag near their feet, but no stroller or mode of transportation to push the little one in, which meant her mother had had to carry her. Since the corner they stood near was a type of a junction, we figured they’d been dropped there and for who knows how long. If damp straggly curls and a fretful baby were any indication, probably some time.
As the door opened, and thankful emerald eyes shone her delight, the young woman who we later came to know as Brenna settled herself and the cute little girl into the back seats of the van. Talking non-stop, she thanked us repeatedly, while at the same time telling her daughter not to cry and giving her pieces of fruit she had secreted away in her tote.
Long red curly hair and a pale freckled complexion, along with a thick brogue convinced us she was of Irish heritage. We’d visited her country a few years before and had loved the green, the wealth of stories and most of all the wonderfully welcoming people. It delighted us that this girl looked and sounded as if she’d just stepped off the plane.
When Lorne could get a word in edgewise, he asked her where she was headed. It turned out that her destination would take us a good hour out of our way, but knowing my husband, I had no doubt whatsoever that we would be driving her straight to where she needed to be.
During the ride, Brenna regaled us with the story of her life and her troubles. Seemed she’d left her homeland to follow a man who’d promised her the world and had only delivered a nightmare. Knowing she needed to get herself, and her now sleeping baby, away from him, she’d gone to a small tourist village on the other side of the island for a job interview as a cook for a famous hotel. She knew if she got the position, she would spirit her baby and herself to a place where her nemesis wouldn’t find them. By working hard, she could save enough to get them the plane tickets they so desperately needed to go back home to her family.
Once she realized that we were passing our own turnoff, and that we were driving her all the way to her destination, tears filled her eyes and again we were told how kind we were and how grateful she was.
Surprisingly, a few miles passed while silence reigned. Then she spoke again. “Might I ask you a question?” Her strong accent had finally became understandable to us as she’d relaxed and talked slower.
“Of course! Ask whatever you wish.” I smiled, and my husband nodded.
“You won’t be laughing at me now, will ya? I have to be knowing?”
We looked at each other, and then I promised for the both of us. “We won’t laugh.”
“Well then. While I waited on the roadside for a ride, I asked the good Lord for help. And in no time a’tall, you appeared like the answer to my prayers. So I’m thinking that God sent his angels to look after us.” As she spoke the words were tumbling out faster and faster and finally she came to the point. “Are you angels? After you drop us off, will you be driving off and disappear into the clouds?”
We didn’t laugh, but the smiles were hard to wipe off. Assurances of our normality didn’t seem to convince her. And so with hugs and words of encouragement, we eventually left them to board a ferry that would take them home. The last we saw was her making the sign of the cross and then kissing her necklace.
Now you might say to yourself that her comment was quaint or even how silly. However, I thought…it could be possible? We’ve all had instances in our lives where someone has come to us at the exact time of need and helped us through bad patches. Times where what we might have called instincts or our sixth sense have saved us from accidents or bad decisions. Most of us put these incidences down to luck or being in the right place at the right time.
But what if we really do have guardian angels who guide, not only each individual, but the world around us, steering us towards our personal roads to happiness as much as we’ll let them? Could her angel have given my husband and me the hunger for an ice-cream knowing we’d certainly pass the little family and pick them up?
Should we believe…?