The word “Angels” is often associated with guards, protectors, guides and messengers of God. Many people believe in their existence, many people don’t. Let me tell you how my belief and gratitude towards them began and what has kept it alive.
I was about four years old when my first encounter occurred. It was a beautiful day in my hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico. My dad and I had a beach day out. It was just the two of us plus some acquaintances from his job that happened to be at the same place. First, let me explain to you about the beach we went to on this particular day. It is located in Condado, East of the Historic Old San Juan. This morning my dad took me to the beach right behind La Concha Hotel, one of the many hotels that decorate this beautiful area of San Juan. As time has passed, more and more swimmers, both local and tourists, know that when you decide to go swimming in the ocean at this particular area, there has to be an extreme awareness and respect of the waters. Although beautiful, it is filled with rocks, aggressive waves and strong rip currents. It is a combination of these three what taught my dad about the dangers of this particular beach which almost took our lives away.
My dad had me in his arms and we were enjoying the moment. Warm waters, waves, happy times between a father and his little girl. Suddenly, he realized that he was slowly losing control and that the shore was becoming smaller and smaller to his eyes. The waves were pulling us farther away by the second, passing the rocks, which were considered the safe zones. One thing is to lose control while you are on your own. You find a way, you try to call for help, you improvise. Unfortunately, even on their own, many people have not survived these waters. So add a small child to this troubling moment. My dad was carrying me in his arms and trying to fight for both of our lives. As he explains it to me the multiple times that I have inquired about what happened on that day, he could not be more certain about what happened next.
I am not a parent but I have four nieces and three nephews that I love with all my heart. I would do anything for them and in any given circumstance I will save their lives before mine. My father was about to do just that. He did not believe he was going to make it out of these waters so he did what he thought would save my life. He threw me up in the air towards the shore. You would think that a four year old would not be able to swim or survive those waves. There are so many possibilities and different situations that could have happened, but my father believed that there was a chance I would be able to touch ground and walk away from the water to the safe sands. Then something happened that gave my dad confirmation that I was going to be fine. He saw a man with black shorts walking towards me and taking me by my hand all the way to shore.
Seeing how I was saved gave my dad motivation to save his own life and that he did. He took every opportunity he had to ‘body surf’ his way away from trouble. Taking one wave at a time he managed to go all the way to shore. Once he saw me happily playing with the sand by the water he went to his acquaintances that were standing around and told them what happened. They were not even aware that we had been in trouble. He then proceeded to find the man that had helped me for those well deserved two words: Thank You. But the man he had seen was no longer in the area. He asked his co-workers if they had seen the man that brought me to shore but they had absolutely no idea who dad was talking about. They only saw me walking out from the water to the sand. There was no man around. I truly believe that the man my dad had seen was an angel, one of God’s messengers sent out to help us. And it was him who took me by my hand and led me to safety, giving my dad the chance to save his own life without a toddler in his arms. And this is how an angel saved our lives.
Angels come into our lives to comfort us, give us courage and fill us with hope. They appear in crucial moments and through a stranger or a loved one. This second story is about that loved one that came to protect me.
About six months after my grandfather passed away I went into surgery. At five years of age I was diagnosed with a tumor in my left ovary. The first years of life of a child are so important. Even though I was very young when ‘Abuelo (Grandpa) Boabdil’ passed, I have memories of him. I remember all the affection that he would always give me and how he always found a way to show me I was protected and loved. Missing him was a daily thing for me for the rest of my life.
As my dad and mom sat in the waiting area of the Hospital del Maestro in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, I was having that left ovary removed. Imagine how nervous they were to have their little girl going through all the pain I went through prior to the surgery and now being in an operating table. All of a sudden my dad felt my Grandpa Boabdil (dad’s father) speak to him. Let me remind you that he had lost the battle to cancer just 6 months earlier. My dad looked at mom and told her, “Darlene is okay. Everything is okay”. My mom didn’t know how he would know being that they had been sitting there together all along. My dad then said, “Dad just told me she came out from surgery and that she is okay”. If my mom was surprised by this, imagine her surprise once I woke up in the recovery room and told her, “Mom, I saw grandpa. He was there with me during the surgery. He was wearing the same thing he had on at his funeral. He had that dark suit and his glasses. But this time he was also wearing wings and floating in the air”. Later on I drew a picture of my grandpa watching over me through a window that was right in front of me during surgery. Suit, glasses and wings. I still have that drawing. Knowing that I have him to protect me, along with my other loved ones who have passed is so comforting to me.
(At the hospital)
(With my dad the day I went back home after surgery)
Oftentimes I am reminded of the existence of angels, either through personal experiences or through stories I hear from other people. So many different scenarios. People that are going through financial difficulties and suddenly receive money from a friend that know what they are going through. That moment when you have no food on the table and a knock on the door brings you some bread and butter because at the supermarket they had a 2 x 1. Little things like these show how there is never a moment when God does not have our back and he sends assistance through his angels, which come in so many shapes, colors, forms.
I believe that we can all serve as angels for someone who is in need. We have the power to be messengers of God. It is a matter of doing good, with no judgment or expectations. You never know how one little act can make someone’s day, week, month, life. And it is one of those stories that I want to share with you in a post which I will be dedicating to my friend Erick Cedeno. He has an inspiring story to tell about a goal, a journey, an important part of history, barriers encountered, motivation in the making and angels who protected his way.
Thank you for reading my post. It is very significant for me and I wanted to share it with you.
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