An Angel On My Shoulder

Have you ever felt as if you had someone looking after you? I don’t mean anyone like your brother, your friend, or even an actual flesh- and-blood person - but rather something more like an unseen presence that made sure that you were safe even though you may not have known that you were in danger to begin with? Well, there have been several strange occurrences in my lifetime that are completely beyond the realm of my understanding and remain without explanation. I rather feel that someone or something has looked out for me and kept me from harm’s way throughout the years - perhaps more often than I’ve realized. I’d like to share these experiences with you, as I truly feel they have profoundly influenced the course my life has taken.

The first odd experience happened back in 1984 when I was 20 years old. I had a very good friend named Richard that I had known since junior high school. For the first 15 years of our friendship we spent quite a bit of time together - but sadly - our lives have gone in separate directions and we have lost touch with one another.

Anyway, one cold, fall night back in ’84 Richard called and asked if I’d like to come over to his place and hang out. I didn’t have any plans and it sounded like fun - so I agreed. He had been living at the same place for over a year and I had been there many, many times before. He was doing construction work at the time and rented the house from the man he worked for. There were 2 houses situated on the lot - both of them were owned by Richards’ boss. Richard lived in the front house and the back house had recently been rented to 4 men that had begun working at the same company for only a few short weeks.

Richard was very easy-going and friendly - but hadn’t really got to know his new neighbors that well for they pretty much kept to themselves. Anyhow, after Richard called, I got ready to go and headed out the door. We lived about 25 minutes away from each other. Just a few surface streets and a short hop on the freeway from my door to his. Mind you, this is a trip I’d made so many times I could have done it in my sleep - but that’s not quite what happened on this particular night.

I was driving along and was getting ready to exit the freeway. I was to get off on the next off-ramp as I had done countless times before - but strangely - I could not find it! I thought I must have missed it somehow which had NEVER happened before so I turned around and made another attempt to exit the freeway from the other direction - yet I still was unable to find my exit! This was completely strange and I could not make sense of it. I’ve lived in this area for my entire life and I know So Cal like the back of my hand - so where the hell was my exit? I went passed where it ABSOLUTELY should have been - but it wasn’t there! I was totally confused and circled back five more times, trying in vain to find the street that I KNEW should be there - but to no avail.

By this time I was totally frustrated and a bit freaked out, as I had never before experienced anything like this in all my life. It was starting to get really late by then and I was also running low on gas - so I thought I’d better just turn around and head back home.

When I got there I tried calling Richard for the better part of an hour, but his phone kept ringing busy. I figured I’d just turn in for the night and call him in the morning. However, it was Richard that called me the next morning - from the hospital! And boy, did he have a story to tell me. He said: "Thank God you didn’t make it last night..." and proceeded to tell me of the nightmarish experience he had suffered through. It seems that his new neighbors came over and offered him a beer in the hopes of getting better acquainted - but when he let them in all 4 men jumped him! They beat him so badly that they broke his nose and three of his ribs - and then they robbed him! They stole everything he owned of any value, nearly $700.00 in cash, and left him there battered and bleeding on the floor. The police were called and they took a report - but no one ever saw the men again, as they disappeared immediately following the attack.

I picked him up from the hospital that afternoon and took him back to his place. We drove the same route I had taken the very night before, and as we neared our exit my heart was really starting to pound in anticipation of what we might find. We got to the off-ramp that I had tried so hard to find only the night before, and there it was, in all its glory, just as it had been every other time in my life that I’d driven past it! Needless to say, we were both baffled. It took me a few minutes to mentally process what had happened - and when it finally sunk in I was flooded with relief for being spared from the hellish experience my poor, sweet friend hadn’t been so lucky to escape, as well as a sense of gratitude to whomever, or whatever was responsible for keeping me safe. To this day I count my lucky stars for the mysterious intervention - as my life could have taken a very, very dark turn that night. I will NEVER forget the experience as long as I live.

The next odd experience was of a similar nature and happened 10 years to the very month after the first one. In the fall of 1994 my 4-year old son and I went to a cemetery called "Rose Hills" to visit his Grandpa Art’s grave. This was our eighth trip to Art’s final resting place in the 2 years since his passing so we knew EXACTLY where his plot was located. We got to the area where Art is laid to rest and parked the truck. We gathered the bouquet of flowers we brought for Art and headed down to the large shade tree where his plot was - but however hard we looked- we just could not find it! There are certain events that take place in our lifetimes that affect us so deeply that they are forever seared into our very being - and I could NEVER forget where Art’s gravesite was - even if I wanted to. My son knew exactly where his Grandpa was supposed to be as well as I did - but try as we might - we just could not find him! I was totally confused and just happened to glance up from our search and was horrified by the sight that met my eyes. Apparently, I hadn’t secured the e-brake of the truck as well as I should have {you really had to pull it with all your’ might-or it had a tendency to slip} and had carelessly forgot to turn my wheels in toward the curb -and the truck was beginning to make its’ way inching, then stopping, and inching, then stopping with increasing frequency down the steep hill I had parked on. The most awful aspect of the situation was that there was a funeral in progress at the bottom of that hill directly in the path that my truck was heading!

I’ve never before in my entire life moved as fast as I did at that moment, and was in the truck in an instant. Thanks be to God for adrenaline, as the sudden surge got me there before it was too late.

I was shaking like a leaf at the thought of what a terrible accident I could have caused and had to sit down for a moment to catch my breath. Once I had re-gained my composure, my son and I resumed our search for Art’s grave - and wouldn’t you know it - we walked right to it! Suddenly, it was where it had always been - where I KNEW that it was all along! I feel that if we had found Art’s grave right away, we might have been too absorbed in our visit to have noticed the emergency at hand and I shudder to think of what might have been. I really feel as if it were Art looking out for me that day - as I have no explanation as to why his grave suddenly appeared in the exact spot we had thoroughly searched just moments before. I’d like to add that I have an exceptional sense of direction and never have had any problems what so ever finding my way anywhere...unlike my poor, directionally challenged sister - but that’s a story for another day!

I really have no rational explanation as to why these extraordinary events took place - but they did. The only conclusion I’m left with is that "somebody up there likes me" and for this, I am forever grateful.

Submitted by Tricia, CA, USA