My Guardian Angel

 This happened many years ago (1971) but I remember it just like it occurred yesterday.
I was a freshman engineering student at a college in Northwest Pennsylvania.  The first semester was designed to weed out those who could not survive the program.  I had not done well as the curriculum and the college life were too much for me – I was not mature enough at the time for such a drastic change in my life.  I was probably as I appeared, like a scared 14 year old (not 18) at the time.

When the semester ended and we broke for Christmas break, I was physically and mentally beaten.  I remember moping around trying to think about what had occurred
and what was going to happen.  I had failed and I was not going to make it.
When my sister who was an airline stewardess came home for the holidays, she invited me to go on a trip with her to Hawaii.  In those days, airline employees enjoyed lots of perks like free airfare and hotels.

We traveled in the snow and ice from western Pennsylvania to New York where she lived and then on a nonstop flight to Honolulu, Hawaii.
This was a dream for me, I had never been to the ocean before and my first time at the beach was at Waikiki.  We were scheduled for 2 weeks at a high end hotel on the beach, but my sister needed to leave me alone in the middle of the time for her to fly a couple of flights till she returned at the end of our stay.

Oh boy, did I enjoy myself, beach all day – every day, swim in the ocean till I dropped.  I gradually worked my way further out into the bay with each time I went swimming. I was an excellent swimmer at the time.
One day, while I was alone, I went too far and found myself across the reef and into the ocean.  When that happened, I was in the current heading away from land and in high swells rather than the protected bay.

I knew the drill, swim across current and find your way back to the bay.  However, the high waves and current rapidly drained my energy.  I began swimming on my back to conserve my energy and try to find my way back into the bay and safety.
When my energy gave out, I slowly sank in the water.  I remember looking up at the surface of the ocean from under maybe 3 ft under water and feeling so tranquil.  Drowning (is) quite pleasant as it is reported by all who experience it.

Then a voice “I have you” and a strong arm wrapped around my neck and almost instantly I was in shallow water near the beach.  When I stood up to thank the person who saved me, I looked around and no one was there.

My sister came back to pick up me and we returned together to New York and then home.  I was a changed person after that encounter as many friends and family observed.
After the trip, went back to college more confident.  With no fear of failing, did better with my studies and coping with college life.  I did so well that eventually I made the dean’s list for most of the rest of my college days.

I went on to finish college and a have along and gratifying career as an engineer which has taken me all over the globe.  .
 My uncle a priest and college professor admitted to me many years later that he had initially doubted that I was going to make it through college but had noticed that I was a changed person after the Hawaii trip. He was surprised how the little scared boy grew into the adult that I became.
For all of you, who read this story; never doubt the existence of God, Jesus, heaven and angels.  Never forget who you are, where you came from and what you are here for.


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