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The Night Visitor - from, Angels I Have Seen by J. L. Moore.
I was not raised in a predominately Christian home, although I did attend church services on occasion with my father. There was no single spiritual experience I can recall in my childhood, but at an early age, I began to be visited by angels.
I was born six-weeks early with hips out of socket and weak lungs. At six-months old, I was hospitalized with pneumonia, which started many years of upper respiratory infections, doctor visits and copious amounts of medication. I assumed everyone went to bed each winter night with Vicks Vap-O Rub smeared all over their chest, a flannel rag pinned to the inside of their pajamas and a vaporizer hissing nearby.
My first angelic visit came when I was four-years old. My parents and I lived in a drafty top-floor apartment in a converted old Victorian Style house. Father worked for a parts store in the small town of Alma, Nebraska and didn’t make a lot of money. Mother was a home-maker, as was characteristic of the time, and I was sick once again. The doctor had been called and a prescription had been sent to the house for my reoccurring illness.
Mother had given me several doses of medicine over the course of a few days, leaving the bottle half empty when she accidently knocked it off the kitchen counter. It fell to the floor and shattered; glass shards and medication flew everywhere. Mother sat down on a kitchen chair, buried her face in her hands and sobbed. The prescription had been very costly and there wasn’t money to buy more.
Within twenty-four hours, my chest rattled with each breath and I was overtaken by coughing fits that left me weak and drenched in sweat. All mother could do was give me sips of chicken broth and lemon water. Worry was etched on her face, but all I knew was that I was sick again .
That night, I was once again smeared with Vicks Vap-O Rub and the familiar flannel rag was pinned inside my pajama top. I lay in the bed, covered with quilts as Mother sat weeping alongside the vaporizer. I was restless and couldn’t sleep. Father came in to relieve Mother and began rubbing my back—a proven cure for a little girl’s insomnia.
I never knew when Father had left the room, but when I awoke it was dark and quiet, except for the hissing vaporizer. Then I heard the sounds of someone walking across the bare wooden floor in the living room. It was not a groaning of the boards, but the definite thumping of heavy footsteps. It was an odd sound, as we were only allowed to wear our house shoes or socks, so not to disturb the landlady who lived in the apartment below.
I was frozen in fear, my heartbeat pounding in my ears as the footsteps came closer. I willed myself to roll to my stomach and pull the blankets over my head. Trying not to move, breath, or cough, I hoped whoever was walking through the house would think I was asleep, or dead, and just go away.
I could actually feel the heaviness, as with each step my bed trembled. I squeezed my eyes closed and attempted to hold my breath. I could tell someone was standing by my bedside and I dared not move or make a sound.
Then, someone, or something, seemed to lie across my back. It wasn’t uncomfortable, and only lasted for a short while, as I lay perfectly still and quiet as a mouse under the blankets.
Finally, the individual got up and the footsteps started moving away from my bed. Curiosity got the better of me; I wanted to see who had come into my room and had lain across me, so I peeked from under my blankets.
Standing in the doorway was not a person, per se, but a beautiful form in a long flowing robe bathed in bright golden light. I did not see a face, as it was moving away from me, but something inside of me wanted to jump out of the bed and run to this beautiful creature.
Before I could move, it was gone, the house silent once again, except the hissing vaporizer. My eyes became unusually heavy and I drifted off to sleep.
The next morning, the rattling in my chest was gone and I could breathe freely without any hint of a cough. I felt strong, had no fever, and my appetite had returned. My mother could not believe it; my father just grinned, shook his head and tousled my hair before he left for work.