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Guardian Angel
Ruth, Age 15, St. Germain, WI

It was a cold winter night. Snow swirled about the corners of the buildings, coating the branches of the trees and the window sills with white. Silvery frost traced delicate patterns over the windowpanes—gilding silver swirls on the clear glass. It was a beautiful night—although bitter. The wind was cold and the air burned the lungs on the way down.

It was a hard night for a baby to be born.

In the log cabin the fire had been going as much as possible to try and keep the one small room warm—but somehow, try as the father might, it seemed that it would never be warm. Too much cold, and ice, and snow were being blown in through the cracks between the logs.

But the baby was coming. Despite the dreadful weather that made it impossible for the room to be warm and for a midwife to be fetched—it was coming. No one had ever told it how harsh the world could be. It had no idea what sort of place it was coming into.

But it still came. Unaware of the peril it was entering into it came anyway—slowly—painfully. A baby girl. One that had little hope of living the night. Unless—unless she was very strong and had a very great will to live.

She wasn't strong, though. She was small, delicate as one of the snowflakes that was falling outside—and it seemed that she would melt just as easily, and just as quickly. It seemed that she could never survive—not without a miracle.

“But miracles don't happen, not any more.” the mother whispered, a tear rolling down her cheek.

The night wore on—and somehow the babe held onto life. There was an angel leaning down over her, taking her hand, and holding it, firmly. And she lived the night.

    ****

It was many years later. She was a woman—working hard as a nurse in the terrible war. She worked tirelessly from morning to night—and it seemed that her strength would never wan. Until the cannonball tore into her flesh—dropping her down. “She'll never live,” everyone said.

But there was an angel. He knew her—he'd held her hand all those years before when she was a baby. And once again his strong hand reached down and took her trembling weak one and held on. Tight.

And somehow—although no one else ever knew how, she pulled through.

    ****

It was many years later. She was a middle aged woman having her fifth baby. This time it was a warm summer night, and the baby was strong. But the mother was weak. “She'll not life to see the dawn.” the doctor told the grieving father.

The father went outside and dropped down in the soft green grass—turning his face toward  heaven. “Please,” he prayed, “please don't take her from me, Lord. I love her—I love her so much. She's five children that love her too. Please don't take her. Not yet.”

There was a shimmer near him. He couldn't quite see what it was. “I'm an angel.” The shimmer said. “I've been your wife's guardian angel since the first hour that she came into the world. She was weak then, weak and frail. It was a cold night—and she shouldn't have survived. But I took her hand, and she lived.

“Years later she was injured in the war. She shouldn't have lived then either—but I took her hand, and she made it through. I've helped her many other times in small ways as well. What makes you think that I would desert her now when she needs me?”

    ****

It was many years later. She was an old woman, with hair silver white. She had grandchildren and great grandchildren, and was happy and satisfied. It was another cold night—as cold as the night when she was born. She lay in her bed and shivered. Suddenly there were warm arms around her.

“Why are you holding me?” she asked the angel. “Always before you've taken my hand.”

“It is past the time to take you hand.” he replied. “Now I am taking you away to a better place."

 
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