ANGELS ARE HERE!
Watcher in the Woods
The very presence of an angel is a communication. Even when an
angel crosses our path in silence, God has said to us, "I am
here. I am present in your life."
TOBIAS PALMER "AN ANGEL IN MY HOUSE"
Saint John Bosco, as tradition has it, was often bothered by
toughs who threatened to mug him as he passed them on his mission
to serve the poor. Eventually, a large fierce-looking black dog
began to appear alongside John and to accompany him through the
danger woes. When John reached a place of safety, the dog would
vanish. Perhaps guardian angels are not always disguised as
Barbara Johnson had completed her general-nursing training
at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia. She worked six
months in Melbourne, then went to Sydney to train as a midwife at
Barbara's brother and his wife lived in a suburb of Sydney,
so on her first day off, she took the train to their home for a
visit. Everyone had a lovely day, and Barbara left about nine
a.m. for the return journey.
"I was feeling proud," she admits. "Although I later got to
know the underground subway system well, this was my first time
traveling beneath the city. Yet I had found my way around and
gotten off at the right stop." Confidently, she climbed up to a
well-lit street and decided to take a shortcut through a park.
Barbara wasn't apprehensive as she began her walk. "I had walked
in cities at night, and had learned that you keep your pace brisk
but not hurried, so onlookers don't think you're afraid." She
moved purposefully down the path, and it was only after a few
moments that she realized the park was extremely dark inside, and
Oxford Street--and the hospital--was much farther than she had
anticipated. There was no one else in the park, at least no one
she could see. But Barbara had the feeling she was being watched.
From time to time she saw a glow, like the end of a lit
cigarette, in the shadows. Her heart began to pound. Was she in
danger? If someone grabbed her and pulled her into the bushes
here, there would be little she could do to protect herself. But
if she bolted, she could lose her way in the darkness or fall and
There was no choice but to keep going. Barbara quickened her
pace and stared straight ahead, fixing her eyes on that distant
glow, the streetlights that signaled safety.
She was about halfway, through the park when she sensed
movement to her right. Oh, no! As if everything wasn't
frightening enough, there was a large white Alsatian dog right
next to her.
"This breed was very intimidating, because the police used
them as guard dogs," Barbara says. "They were known to be
vicious." Frantically, she looked around for the dog's owner, but
the park was deserted. What would she do if the dog charged her?
Barbara pictured herself lying bleeding on the dirt, vulnerable
to attacks from both man and beast. Her heart raced even faster.
Curiously, the dog seemed anything but bad-tempered. It simply
trotted alongside her as if it belonged. Barbara slackened her
pace, hoping the furry monster would pass her, but the dog slowed
as well. Then she stopped "Go away, dog." Timidly she tried to
shoo it. "Go away, now!"
But the dog stopped too, as if rooted to the spot, and
looked up at her. Its demeanor didn't change, nor was it agitated
or responsive. It simply stayed, like an obedient guard assigned
to her side.
Barbara saw no other option but to keep moving, and that's
just what she did, almost breaking into a run as she reached the
welcome lights of Oxford Street. The dog stood beside her as she
glanced down the street to check the traffic. Was it going to
follow her across?
But just as she stepped off the curb, Barbara looked to her
right once more. The dog was gone.
Relieved, Barbara hurried to the hospital dorm and made
herself a cup of tea in the kitchenette. "You look exhausted,"
one of the nurses said. "I've had a traumatic experience,"
Barbara explained. "I took a shortcut just now through the park."
"You went into the park at night?" another nurse interrupted.
"Oh, you're new, you wouldn't have known. But many crimes take
place in that park!"
Aghast that she had ventured into such a dangerous and
poorly lit area after dark, the two nurses related one horror
story after another, and Barbara thought back with consternation
to the cigarette glow in the shadows. Oh, what might have
happened to her! God must have been watching over her....
"And suddenly I was filled with a sense of guardian angels, and I
knew without question that the dog had been mine," Barbara says.
"There was just no other explanation for his arrival, his
behavior, and his sudden disappearance. I felt grateful that God
chose to take such personal care of me, and that He was always
ready to protect us, even from our own foolishness."
Barbara eventually worked in New Guinea, where she met her
American husband. Later she accompanied him to Wisconsin, where
the family now lives. She never saw her angel again, but she has
named him Guiseppe and feels a bond that has endured through the
Entered on this Website February 2008