How many times have you wished you could meet your guardian angel? It’s certainly something to look forward to when Jesus comes. Well, I’ve met mine. I suppose that’s a bit of an exaggeration. It wasn’t like we talked or sat and visited, but I did see him. And he saved my life.
I was 15 years old, a latch-key kid. My parents would leave early in the morning to go to work and I would get up later, get myself ready and head off to school. School was a short three-block walk from our house and I made that walk every day, rain or shine, clear or snowy, but not uphill either way.
There are a lot of details to this story, but I’ll do my best to keep it short.
We had lived in our neighborhood since I was six. I’d been a latch-key kid since I was nine. I had friends in the neighborhood, my next-door neighbor, a couple of older boys down the street, my best friend a block over and the son of our school principal.
I don’t recall what day of the week it was, but I do remember it was December and cold. My parents had already left for work and I was preparing my breakfast when I heard a noise in the utility room off the kitchen. Seemed odd to me, so I went to investigate. When I opened the door, I found the door from the utility room into the garage was open and just glimpsed something go back out into the garage. We had a stray cat in the neighborhood that would often spend the night in our garage and I figured it had gotten stuck in the garage when Mom and Dad left for work. Somehow the door into the utility room had gotten blown open and it had come in to investigate.
But when I went to the door to the garage to close it, I saw that it wasn’t the cat at all. The garage door was up about two feet and standing next to it was a man. I can still him in my mind’s eye standing there all dressed in black, wearing gloves and a ski mask, the kind through which you can only see the eyes and mouth.
We stared at each other for a heartbeat and then the thought came to me that he would try to come back in and I needed to close the door. At the same second, he seemed to realize that if he was going to get in, he would have to hurry because I was going to close the door. I swung the door as hard as I could and he ran as quickly as he could toward me. The door slammed tightly shut right in his face. I leaned all my weight against it and so did he. This door had glass, so this man and I were straining against both sides of the door, staring directly at each other. He had blue eyes. I saw his hand in its glove splayed on the glasses and that’s when I realized that if he got in once, he would get in again, and I would not be strong enough to stop him.
I ran back into the kitchen and out into the living room. To my left was the hallway and the telephone. I took one look at the phone and stepped toward the hallway, then looked up and there in the hallway was a man. I can’t remember his face. I can remember that he was dressed in a business suit and I remember that I wasn’t afraid. He shook his head no and pointed to the front door.
I turned on my heel and ran for the front door. As I started to go out, I remembered something I’d seen on a television program just a couple nights before where a young girl had run out the front door and right into the arms of the person who wanted to do her harm. Probably the only time all the television I watched over my life did me any real good. I opened the front door and paused, watching the kitchen door and then there he was. He had gotten back in the house and I ran out the front door and to the neighbor’s house.
They called my Mom and Dad. The police came. They searched the house and here is a strange thing, they were able to take fingerprints. Remember, I told you he was wearing gloves, but he left a perfect set of fingerprints. In fact, that’s how he was found.
While I was waiting for my parents to get home, I was in the house with a police officer. He asked me if he could use the phone. I said yes. I saw him pick up the receiver (this was an old circular dial phone), press the buttons a couple times to get a dial tone. He put the receiver down and went outside. I learned later, that the man had cut the phone line. Had I tried to use the phone, I would have been trapped in the hallway, but for the man in the business suit.
It turned out that the man who broke into our house was one of the two boys I knew from down the street. The police knew that because of the fingerprints and he had a record. The next day, my dad stayed home with me and we watched this boy, along with another boy walk across our front yard. The police had staked out the house and they arrested him at the end of the block.
They found rope in his pocket, along with the credit card he used to break into the house. He admitted that it had been his intent to break into the house and ultimately kill me, except, for the man in the hallway. My guardian angel.
I am looking forward to seeing him again.