featured image

Sarah Torbeck illustrates a veiled encounter with her guardian angel, and the critical nature of his divine commission.

I pushed through the swinging glass doors of my high school, and bounced down the concrete stairs. I looked to my right as I stepped onto the parking lot. The coast was clear, so I quickly crossed to the opposite side, and easily made my way to the path behind the sports field. I knew the course well, for I had followed it every day after school for almost two years—ever since my parents had enrolled me in a new private school outside of Washington, DC.

I had only agreed to attend the new school because of its ideal location: it was only a half-mile from my grandmother’s house. I loved my grandmother more than any other person in the world, and the fact that I could make the half-mile walk to her house every afternoon did a great deal to appease my displeasure over my reversal in academic scenery.

Now I turned left, and headed toward the park that marked the halfway point to my grandmother’s house. There was a swift creek that ran through the center of the park, and I often stopped on the bridge above the rushing water to admire the lovely effects of sound, color and light.

This afternoon was no different. So, I paused at my usual place on the bridge and absorbed the simple loveliness of the afternoon. I closed my eyes, and lifted my face to the sun. Everything seemed almost idyllic …

… until it wasn’t.

A large, gray cloud slipped over the sun, and the afternoon suddenly turned dreary and cool. I shivered and glanced up the road that led to my grandmother’s house. One more shiver convinced me that I needed to hurry, so I renewed my efforts and began the long trek up the hill toward home.

My mind wandered as I trudged up the hill. I nearly stepped into a mud puddle—but caught myself in time, as I moved to the left side of the road. I was still feeling relieved by my near-miss when I happened to notice a faded, brown van as it lumbered up the road, and then parked on my side of the street.




I had almost dismissed the presence of the van, when I suddenly experienced a strange awareness: I could sense words invading my reverie … but no one was audibly talking. I stopped to listen: Move to the other side of the road.

Startled, I obeyed the instructions immediately—not fully understanding why. As I neared the top of the hill, it occurred to me that I should also make a getaway plan just in case something extraordinary DID happen. So, I mentally devised an escape route: I would run to the nearest house, and bang on the door—regardless of the impropriety.

With that settled, I relaxed and continued my upward trajectory. Gradually, I neared the van, but there was no movement from inside. I chided myself for being so silly.

I had nearly passed the van—when suddenly, the side-door opened, and a muscular, bearded man with long, dark hair jumped onto the pavement. His eyes locked with mine, as he began to move in my direction. The hair stood up on the back of my neck, and I instinctively understood that I had become prey.

No time to lose. I dropped my books into the middle of the road, raced toward the nearest house, and threw myself onto the porch. I looked behind me, and realized that the man was chasing me up the road. I managed to get to the front door of someone’s house, but to my dismay the door was locked. I turned around to face the man—who had stopped 10 feet away from me. “Get in the van,” he snarled.

“This is my grandmother’s house,” I lied boldly. “She’s waiting for me.”

I began to pound furiously on the front door of the house. “Grandma! It’s me! Let me in,” I yelled for effect. I looked back toward my assailant. His posture was still predatory—but now there was a look of uneasiness on his face. I could see him weighing his options. “Oh, here she comes,” I added. “I can hear her now.” I continued to pound on the door, while looking over my shoulder at my would-be kidnapper.

The man hesitated for a few more seconds. Then he leaned back on his heals, turned and raced back to his van. He gunned the motor and lurched down the street.

I was safe.

Click to tweet:
Just one more sign that God exists … and He loves us so very much. #CatholicMom

Years later, I would come to fully grasp the dynamic that had occurred that afternoon. The mysterious words that had suddenly flooded my thoughts came from the heart of my guardian angel—urging me to move and plan—fulfilling the divine directive given to him by God.

Just one more sign that God exists … and He loves us so very much.

For he commands his angels with regard to you, to guard you wherever you go. (Psalm 91:11)




Copyright 2023 Sarah Torbeck
Images: Canva