I Once Saw An Angel
He will give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.
As the wife of a soldier who averaged being away from home every third night in the first ten years of our marriage, I worried a great deal about taking care of my children all by myself. I just didn't seem to worry about it at the right times.
I didn't worry about it when we bought our house in Kennesaw, Georgia. It never entered my mind to ask myself before we signed the contracts how I would get our two pre-schoolers out of the upstairs bedrooms if there was a fire that kept us from using the staircase. All I thought about at the time of purchase was how much I liked the one acre lot the house we could afford sat on; how I would rip out all the 1960s avocado and gold floral wallpaper and replace it with the current 1980s blue and burgandy small country patterns; how great the Christmas tree would look in the large den with the bricked hearth and fireplace the previous owners had made out of the double garage.
I worried about how I would take care of the children when I got pregnant by accident with our third before we came back to the States from Germany. Our second child wouldn't even be two years old when the new baby came. It was the first time I'd ever been pregnant by accident, and I felt like a guilty teenager caught going all the way with my boyfriend in the backseat of his car. After about six weeks, though, (that's how long it used to take to be sure you were pregnant) I got used to the idea of carrying a baby again, and I started taking my prenatal vitamins, sitting Indian-style on the floor when I watched television, and taking my walks when my husband got home at night to get myself back in shape and ready for labor.
Then one evening at the beginning of the fourth month I started to bleed. By the next morning it was over. My husband would find me crying in those first few weeks afterward. He'd put his arms around me and softly say, "Kathleen, sweetheart, you can't wish a baby away." I don't know how I would have lived with myself if he hadn't said those words to me. I looked at my two precious children, Amber at three and Joshua just six months, and I knew that lost baby would have been just like them. So Josh wouldn't even be two when it came? How could I not want her or him?
But I didn't worry about how I would take care of three children alone a third of the time enough to keep from getting pregnant again a year later. I was too thrilled that my child-bearing days weren't going to end with the loss of that last baby. This one would be three years younger than Joshua. I could handle three children within five and a half years of each other. And we were back in the states, in our hometown even. I'd have my family and my in-laws within reach.
And help even came from the most unexpected sources. One night about nine o'clock the phone rang. It was one of the two men who lived in the house next door. What exactly their living arrangements were, I didn't know for sure. But they were both very friendly on the rare occasions we'd all be out in our yards at the same time.
"Kathleen, why isn't your back porch light on?" the neighbor asked.
I laughed. "I don't know. Why isn't my back porch light on?"
"Well, Don is out of town this week, isn't he? You always leave the light on when he's gone, and we just wanted to check on you and make sure you were all right."
I didn't worry as much after that night about being alone with my kids. Someone was watching out for us - right next door.
We lived in that house and my husband continued to travel about twelve to fifteen days out of every month even after our third baby and second son was born. That one phone call from my neighbor helped. I locked my doors at night and slept pretty well most of the time. I wasn't afraid of all the scary things that could happen. I was just worried about how well I would handle any emergency that might happen with the three children and just me.
One night I woke out of a sound sleep and sat straight up in bed. I could see from my bedroon across the hall into the boys' room without turning on a lamp because there was a streetlight that shone right into their window. As my eyes began to focus from sleep, I saw a large woman standing at their window like she was keeping watch. She had soft, red hair flowing over her shoulders, with the sides held back with some kind of clasp. She wore a flowing robe of jewel-tone colors. She looked at me over her shoulder and peacefully smiled. Then she turned back to watch out the window.
I rubbed my eyes to make sure I wasn't dreaming, and when I looked back, she was gone.
I've been very careful about who I told about this occurance in the years that have passed. My three children are adults now. The woman in my little boys' room that night didn't have wings or a hallo, and she didn't wear white. But I know, in my mother's heart, she was an angel, standing guard over us that night. I suspect she was there many nights. Why I was allowed to see her that once, I can't imagine. But after that once, I didn't worry so much about my having to take care of my three children all alone.
Years later, I did tell my closest friend about that night. She said I should ask my mother if anyone in the family looked like the woman I saw, someone who might still worry about her children's children, or her children's children's children. But the woman wasn't a ghost, someone who had died and come back. I know she was an angel, a ministering spirit. She didn't frighten me. She just let me know, it wasn't all up to me, all by myself.