As I sit here in the middle of the night, an experience from my childhood has entered my mind. So, I decided to write about it. It took place when I was a four-year-old toddler, and I’ve been told this story time and again ever since.
I was not like most four-year-olds. I rarely slept more than a few hours every night, and sometimes not even that much. I was full of energy, going on small amounts of sleep, and that one particular night was no exception. It was 4am and my mom was trying to do all she could to stay awake and keep an eye on her freakishly active little girl. To make her time productive, she would often go outside to do laundry. Back then, our laundry room was outside. She felt safe to do so with our trusted dog by her side. He was half collie and half german sheperd. Oh, what a beautiful, loving dog he was, and such a wonderful protector. For this reason only, my mom felt comfortable going out to wash at that late hour.
I would usually stay inside playing while she went outside to wash, but this one night I followed her outside. She said that I was just staring up at the sky. My mom could tell that my attention was fixed upon something, but figured it was just the moon or the stars. I always admired the moon and it would often be the source of my gazing as a child. So, she didn’t pay any further attention to my distraction.
Finally, she finished putting the clothes in the washer, and began to head back toward the house. It was then when I spoke the very words that I have heard repeated back to me ever since. “Mama, there are people in the sky.” My mom said that she turned to look at me and asked, “What?” I responded once again, “There are people in the sky, look mama!” It was at that moment that fear took hold of my mom. At the time, we had particularly tall hedges in our back yard. So, the first thought that went through my mom’s head was that an intruder must be jumping over the hedges into our yard. My mom, trying to keep her composure as not to scare me, just said, “Okay, let’s hurry inside, now.” I went inside very calmly, not sensing my mom’s worry, and not noticing her looking out the window once we were safe inside. My mom has always said that she never saw any sign of an intruder while looking out, and that our very good watch dog, who was sitting quite contently, never barked once. She figured that it must have just been a figment of her little girl’s imagination, and never spoke of it again for the next week.
All seemed to be forgotten about the incident that night, until one day my mom was reading her Bible that had some illustrations on some of the pages. As she read, I came into the room and stood by her side. She continued to read and then turned the page. It was then that I said, “Mama, that’s it.” My mom just looked at me, not knowing to what I was referring. She asked, “What are you talking about?” My mom has always said, that at that moment I pointed my four-year-old finger at a picture of an angel in the Bible and said, “That was the people in the sky.” My mom has told me that she stood silent for a moment, and then asked, “What did you see that night, Summer?” It was then, that my mom said I raised my arms into the praise position, looked up into the air and smiled. I then, looked back at her, and said, “That’s what the people were doing in the sky.” My mom knew that my knowledge of my faith, were limited at that point. I was four, and I knew only the bare basics about angels, Jesus, and other information that she had taught me. She also knew that the image in the Bible was one that I had not seen prior to that day.
My mom did not know what to think, but she did know that something was different about what I displayed for her in my description. She’s told me that I was serious as I repeated what I had seen, as if I was truly recalling something, and it wasn’t just my toddler mind creating it. She began telling several people the story, and all but my dad were convinced that I saw an angel. My dad is a man with deep faith, but he also has a analytical mindset. He prefers to rule out all possibliities, before placing his opinion or answer into the discussion. So, when he heard what I had told my mom, he began trying to figure it out. His final theory was in regard to our neighbor’s tree. They had a huge tree in their backyard, which I could see clearly that night. My dad figured that the branches and leaves, as well as the gaps in between them, were what formed an angel in my four year old mind.
Others had different theories. The mother of one of my sister’s friends told her that she believed it was definitely an angel. She said that it is known for children to see angels at such a young age. It’s an age of innocence, and a time when angels appear to them. Good points were made too about our dog. He was a great watch dog. He would bark and growl at the slightest sense of danger. That night, he was next to me while I stood outside by the door, and he never flinched. In addition, at that young age, I was frightened of the dark. I was near my mom and our dog at the time, so that is why I was calm. But, for me to see something in the sky, and remain calm and not get frightened, was another point that was brought up. My mom said that I was relaxed and content with what I saw. I didn’t cry, or show any signs of fear. I was just telling her about the people that I saw in the sky.
I wish that I couuld dig deep into my memories and remember that night. I want to know what I saw. My dad’s point is a good one, and I do think it is possible that it was merely our neighbor’s tree. But, at the same time, my mom said that I saw details in the angel. I saw the angel smiling, and she said that the look on my face as I showed her what I saw that night, was one of such peace.
I’ll never know what I really saw that night, but I’d like to think that it was indeed an angel. I mean how awesome is that? I believe God watches over me always, and my mom has often said that she feels it might have been a sign for her. She had become quite content with going out in the middle of the night to do laundry while I kept her awake. She had become so content that she didn’t even pay attention to her surroundings much anymore. After all, it was our backyard, in a nice and safe neighborhood, and we had our trusted dog who would attack anyone who tried to hurt us. However, after that experience, my mom no longer went outside that late at night again. She took it as a sign that God was saying, “No more. It’s not safe.” She saw the angel as a guardian angel, and she wasn’t going to ignore Him.
Maybe I saw an angel back then, or maybe I did not. However, what is certain is that my mom was safer each night after that experience. That is the only fact that I have from that night, but that is fact enough.
Besides, angel or not, I know that God is still watching over me, and that’s all that really matters in the end.