Angels in Real Life

An Angel on EarthAre there angels in real life?

It’s easy to think of them almost like they belong to the realm of fiction. Even if we think they exist, we tend to keep them separate from reality and assume they don’t visit us here on Earth. But every once in a while there’s a story that makes us wonder.

One such story in my family has been told to me since I was a child, and it’s especially dear to me because it’s my story. My parents swear that it is true.

I have Cerebral Palsy, a blanket term for conditions caused by injury to parts of the brain that control physical movement and motor function. It is acquired before or during birth and can be caused by a variety of things. In my case, it was acquired when my umbilical cord wrapped around my neck in the womb and strangled me, cutting off the flow of oxygen to my brain and thus causing my brain cells to die.

And not just my brain cells. The story is that as a result of this event, I actually died myself. When I came into the world, I had no heart beat and wasn’t breathing. I was immediately ripped away from my mother as the doctors tried to resuscitate me. They say I was dead for eight minutes before they got me breathing again. However, there’s no way of knowing how long I was dead before I came out. The doctors told my parents I wouldn’t survive the night.

While my parents were at the hospital, they were approached by a woman at the elevators. She was not one of the hospital staff, and they had never seen her before. Yet, she had a strange omniscient knowledge of me. She said to them,

“These people are very worried about their daughter. And they should be.”

Then she said, “God’s hand is strongest when people pray in numbers. Come, let us pray now.”

Then she took their hands and prayed for my life.

I’ve asked my parents what they were thinking when they initially saw her. My mother says she knew she was an angel from the first moment. My father says he thought she was from the psych ward at first (lol!) but after the encounter he knew he’d been divinely touched.

For the longest time when they told the story my parents would say she then “disappeared,” and I thought they meant that she walked away out of sight, but in later years they clarified that no, they literally saw her vanish into thin air at this point.

Obviously I survived the night because you wouldn’t be reading this if I didn’t. Then the doctors said I wouldn’t survive another night, and then they said no more than a few days, but I survived, and survived, and survived. Then they said I might live, but I’d have very little cognitive ability and would require constant care for the rest of my life. But that didn’t happen either.

Even so, by the second day the hospital staff were already calling me a miracle baby. I was in incubation for 16 days before my mom was allowed to take me home.

My disability affects all four of my limbs and my speech. The loss of brain cells controlling movement causes the nerves to misfire, which causes twitching and restricts certain movements in my limbs and mouth, so I can’t physically make all the mouth movements to produce all the sounds that normal people can make, and this is what causes my impediment. It’s a purely physical disability, but it’s often mistaken for a mental one.

Over the course of my life, I’ve made miraculous improvement and now live close to a normal life. The fact that I have the disability has psychological and emotional consequences, but they are consequences of having the disability and not from the disability itself. But these are just extra challenges of the disability I have to overcome.

This is a story that pushes me to have faith even in the darkest points of my life. It brings up all manner of questions I may never know the answer to, like why was I saved when so many other babies are lost? And what’s with the dramatics, with the angel and all that? Even the exact words she said scream otherworldly. Isn’t God usually a little more subtle? I’m a fantasy writer after all, so it’s my job to think deeply about things like this. It brings me a bit of comfort to think that even though I received a disability that night which I view as a curse, in the same night I was also given a great blessing: a chance to live.

Do people have predefined destinies, or not? Is there a reason I was saved that night, or is it beyond reason? I remember as a kid I used to think about whether I would go to heaven when I died, and if I would be able to meet the angel that came to save me that day. It’s a crazy thing to think about, but it’s also kind of fun to wonder what she’d be like.

Let me know what you think, or if you’ve ever had a strange experience like this. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Until next time!

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