It was well beyond midnight and it was very, very dark.
I was slumped behind the steering wheel of my Chevy Silverado pickup, wondering who I was. Wondering where I was. My head was spinning and screaming. My ears were ringing. I reached up and touched my forehead and felt a lump and a matted, sticky substance. Blood. Lots of it. It was on my jacket, on my jeans, on my hands, on my face. On the seat. Everywhere.
“What’s going on here?” I said to myself.
I looked into the black night in all directions and recognized nothing but a depth of darkness that you see only in the country at night. I remember thinking, “If this is death, it isn’t a very pleasant place.”
I reached for the door handle with my left hand, but couldn’t crank it. My wrist was broken. I managed to open the door with my right hand and stepped out into the still of a summer night. I fell. I got to my feet and lurched toward the front of my pickup. The entire right side was crumpled and embedded in a bridge abutment. The passenger half of the wind shield was gone. I had driven into a short bridge over a narrow creek (at 90 km/h), less than five kilometres from my 15-acre hobby farm.
I had no notion of how long I had been unconscious, but that wasn’t the issue. I needed help. Quickly.
“A farm house,” I told myself. “I need to find a farm house. Somebody will help me there.”
My blurry eyes searched for porch lights. Or barn lights. I listened for the barking of a dog (everyone in the country has a dog). Anything that would point me in the direction of a pair of helping hands. I began staggering along the gravel edge of the highway, looking straight ahead and constantly peering over my left shoulder in the faint hope that someone would come along in a vehicle and rescue me. I saw nothing but black and the foggy moors of finality. I collapsed, but remained awake, convinced this is how I was to leave this life. Just a tiny lump of road kill on the side of a country road somewhere south of Winnipeg.
Everything was so quiet. Even the crickets had stopped chirping. It was actually quite peaceful and I no longer felt pain.
Suddenly, there were lights. And voices. I heard two doors open and shut. A man reached down and picked me up. I never saw his face. All I could see of him was a silhouette against a backdrop of bright lights.
“Where did you come from?” I stammered. “I looked down the road five seconds ago and there were no headlights in either direction.”
“It does not matter,” a second man said in a French-Canadian accent and soft, soothing voice. “We are here to take care of you.”
Those were the only words we exchanged before I passed out from a nasty whack on the head that left me with a severe concussion and fluid on the brain. I also had suffered a broken wrist, a sprained wrist, a broken nose and considerable bruising.
I should have died that dark, lonely night. But apparently I wasn’t supposed to die. I realize I was in a state of semi-consciousness when those two men came along, but I can say with certainty that they appeared out of nowhere. I hadn’t seen any headlights, in either direction, scant seconds before I crumbled to the ground. Then—poof!—there they were, four helping hands.
That’s when I became convinced that angels are among us.
I don’t mind confessing to a belief in angels. Angels are cool. I mean, who doesn’t like angels? Show me someone who doesn’t like angels and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t like rainbows.
One does not necessarily have to be a religious person to believe in angels. I am evidence of that, because I am not a church-goer. At one time, mind you, I attended mass every Sunday and the first Friday of each month. I was raised Roman Catholic and was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph during my formatives. Alas, I ceased to follow the dictates of the Roman Catholic Church in my teen years because…well, without being mean or getting into details that perhaps would lead to an uncomfortable exchange of dialogue, much of what I was taught was bunk.
Their concept of angels, however, I embraced and still do to this day.
I have had many angels in this lifetime. They have gotten me through some difficult challenges. They were my guides and strength during the most significant period in my life. I love angels. I collect angels. I have about 70 of them, so you cannot go anywhere in my home without seeing an angel. They grant me peace. Hope. Strength. Assurance. Love. Joy. Happiness.
And one of them picked me up off the edge of a country road when I thought the light was about to be snuffed out.