There was a terrible car accident yesterday less than a mile from where we live — the next neighborhood over — in which two young children were killed, including the daughter of a Tony award-winning Broadway actress who is pregnant and was also struck by the car and remains in stable but critical condition. “It could have happened to any of us,” a neighborhood friend wrote in her Facebook link to the GoFundMe pages started for the two families who lost their babies. And it could have, of course. I’m so afraid of cars and reckless drivers for exactly this reason.
Just the other day we were in a small accident that could have been so much worse. We were in a Lyft car Friday evening a couple weeks ago heading home from Shabbat services and our driver didn’t notice a concrete median in the middle of the road, dividing our lane into two.
It was small and difficult to see in the dark without any reflective painting or signage to indicate its presence. I was sitting in the front and saw it and pointed and yelled just in time. Our driver swerved, and thank God there were no cars in the direction she swerved, which is very unusual for that stretch of street at that time of day. She still hit the median, but very gently, and not as directly and forcefully as she would have had I not been paying attention. And to be honest, I don’t usually pay attention when I’m the passenger in a car driving around NYC. I get terribly carsick and I am either focusing on not throwing up or I’m dealing with the kids (both of whom inherited my weak stomach and often throw up in cars–we should have stock in Dramamine).
Anyway, our home was only two blocks away, and we made it back safely and without injury (although Drew had a bruised rib, according to an ER visit he made a couple days later), but we were all shaken. I felt really lucky; it could have been so much worse. And I was struck by that again today when I heard the sad news of those poor kids run over and killed yesterday just blocks from where our small accident was. I have a very casual belief in something bigger than us — God, a heavenly spirit, whatever you want to call it. And part of my casual belief, which was probably bolstered by our rare attendance at Synagogue that evening, includes guardian presences or angels.
There have been a few times in my life that I’ve felt one has been watching out for me, most of them related to car accidents but not all of them. (I have a really strong feeling that a specific guardian angel helped us get our first Brooklyn apartment, and there was a time when a flight attendant removed me from a plane before take-off and the flight later detoured and would have stranded me in a different country where I didn’t know anyone.) I can’t explain why instances or people sometimes draw the protection of guardians and at other times they don’t. Maybe it’s all wishful or delusional thinking. But it does bring me a sense of gratitude and peace anyway to acknowledge the times it’s felt like I or people I love have escaped devastation, injury, or hardship from something more than just luck.
Have you ever felt like you had a guardian spirit watching over you, protecting you from something? Have you ever felt like, despite being in the wrong place at the wrong time, you were “spared,” almost inexplicably?
LisforLeslie March 6, 2018, 2:19 pm
I was talking about this with my mom the other day. Years ago I woke up in the middle of the night and went to the front door and peeked out to see what was going on. I heard thumping and yelling below me. I looked to my left where my bed was and smoke was pouring from under the bed. I pushed the bed across the room and the smoke was coming up through the wood floor.
I put on pants, called 911, grabbed my coat and my bag with my wallet. Threw on shoes, put a bra in my bag, pounded on my immediate neighbors doors and then went to the lobby of my building. Firemen were already tramping through the lobby. The fire alarm had not gone off.
We were moved outside to across the street. I turn around and the flames were right below my apartment and were reaching up at least 30 feet. I just looked and thought very peacefully “Well, there goes all my stuff. I have a credit card. I can get a hotel and new underwear.” I had no rental insurance.
A few hours later they let us back in. I went back into my apartment, turned two household fans to point out the window and suck all the smoke out. My neighbor directly next door lost everything. I lost nothing, nothing was ruined. A few loads of laundry and everything was fine. I was insured three days later.
ktfran March 6, 2018, 2:23 pm
I strongly believe that my older sister, who died when she was almost 2 (and I was four weeks old) from a rare liver disease watches over me and my family. And there have been plenty of instances where I thought “someone must be looking out for me or someone is on my side,” meaning her.
I can remember a specific instance, car related, happening my first winter in this city. The weather was awful and cold. I had my hood up. I was waiting to cross the street. The light said walk, so my foot was off the curb and my visability was lower from the hood/weather so I didn’t see the cab run a red light. A stranger pulled me back. Thank you stranger. I did feel that someone was looking out for me at that moment.
Another time my sister, niece and mom were visiting. We were all on the el. My niece waved to someone. We asked who. She said Great Grandpa. He had died probably a year or so earlier.
bondgirl March 6, 2018, 2:36 pm
Yup, my grandpa was very dear to my heart and I was devastated when he passed away. To this day, more than a decade after his passing, I’m still convinced he’s looking out for me. I even talk to him outloud to not let anything happen to me and do believe he’s listening.
Btw, I read about that car crash earlier today and it left me so angry. The woman who ran over those poor babies already had FOUR citations for running red lights in the last 2 years alone. She also had four tickets for speeding through school zones. She tried fleeing from the site of the crash but ended up hitting parked cars. When she was pulled from her vehicle, there was NO concern for her victims, no “omg is everyone okay?” no “I’m so sorry!” NOTHING; she got her phone back and started texting without saying a word. She needs to be locked up for a LONG time as she is clearly a danger to the public.
Dear Wendy March 6, 2018, 3:20 pm
I know, I know. It is so enraging!!! She should never be behind the wheel ever again. I have zero tolerance for reckless drivers, especially those who speed through neighborhoods with lots of kid pedestrians, which is a lot of brooklyn. I have run after so many speeding cars trying to catch up with them at the next light and remind them that they’re putting kids’ lives in danger. The always scream back at me, flip me off, cuss me out, and act like *I* am the problem. I think they’re almost as bad as crazy gunmen who burst into schools and shoot en masse, I really do.
anonymousse March 6, 2018, 4:36 pm
That’s a manslaughter charge, right? It’s horrible.
I was unfortunately in so many accidents as a kid and young adult that I was actually terrified of driving for a long time.
csp March 6, 2018, 2:57 pm
So I go back and forth about guardian angels and divine intervention. It is hard because when it comes to those kids, why not them and why me.
However, I have told my story here previously. but briefly here again – My husband and I got married 11 years ago and started trying to have kids but I miscarried many times. While trying fertility treatments, a new woman in my office saw my struggle. She then pulled me aside one day and said “My teenage daughter is pregnant, do you want to adopt the baby.” We said yes, met both parents, started the paperwork, went to the ultrasounds. Then two days before the baby was born, the father changed his mind and we were left with an empty nursery. We left for a small trip to get away and regroup. While on that trip, we got a call from this same coworker and her other daughter was pregnant and did we want that baby!! Had we not done all the paperwork for the first baby, we would not have been able to adopt our son. And now we are a happy extended family with a crazy story.
Sometimes, when I feel very spiritual, I realized that when we first started trying to have a baby, my son’s birth mother was 8 years old. We just had to wait through all the pain because he was destined to be ours.
Lianne March 6, 2018, 4:40 pm
I definitely believe in guardian angels or the like! Most recently, I think there was some sort of divine intervention with regard to a house we almost bought. The day we were to sign the purchase and sale agreement my husband had a lucky and an unlucky feeling simultaneously. He gets these feelings and usually something happens that validates the feeling. He grew up religious but since I’ve known him, he’s been an atheist. But that day, he was a bit terrified and actually prayed to god to help us. Later that day, he signed the P&S and then I did and that feeling was super strong. He started doing some googling and we found out they were planning a commuter rail extension basically in the back yard of this house. Within 45 minutes of us signing the P&S, our attorney contacted their realtor and told them not to have the sellers sign; we had just learned this information and it was NOT what was represented to us. We had been willing at the time to lose the full deposit (~$30k) as that was better than the alternative. Luckily, we didn’t have to and avoided a major mistake and one we would have regretted for a long long time.
anonymousse March 6, 2018, 4:44 pm
Holy shit! He should play the lotto.
Lianne March 6, 2018, 5:05 pm
Haha it’s funny you should say that. A lot of the time when he gets these lucky feelings he’ll buy a scratch ticket. A few times it’s really paid off!
anonymousse March 6, 2018, 5:15 pm
He totally should!
Copa March 6, 2018, 5:08 pm
I love guardian angel stories. I don’t really have any of my own that stand out, though I’m sure these thoughts have crossed my mind when I’ve had close calls. My last serious boyfriend’s mom passed away from cancer not long before we started dating. One of the last things she told one of her sisters was that she’d send a sign to let them know she was okay. The morning of her funeral was dreary, but when they left the services there was a double rainbow. My ex and his family took that as her sign. I never met her, but I think it was her sign, too. I think she’s my ex’s (and his family’s) guardian angel.
keyblade March 7, 2018, 8:38 am
I can definitively write there are times when I easily could have died. One time I went to pick up a friend about an hour away. There was an icy snow falling and my car skid across three highway lanes. There was some traffic, although slow moving, and there was a giant white truck off on the side a ways down. I prayed and my car managed to dodge all the other cars and slowed and stopped within a few mere feet of that truck. The whole thing felt surreal. There was no good reason I (and none of the other drivers) didn’t end up hurt or killed.
Rangerchic March 7, 2018, 11:32 am
There was a horrific accident I witnessed last July in which I saw a man die. It was terrible! The thought I had the most trouble processing was this man got up and left to go to work that day not expecting to die…it was supposed to be just another normal day. Witnessing that made me really realize that death can come at any time for any reason. Where I live (Colorado Springs) there have already been something like 60 deaths via vehicle accidents.
There have been many times I’ve been in near car accidents. The only that really scared me was (Ironically back in AR – where I’m from). I was the first in line to go straight at a red light. The light turns green but I wasn’t paying that much attention so I didn’t go straight away…which turned out to be lucky because about 2 seconds later a semi truck runs the red light. Had I gone I probably would not be here today. I honestly don’t know why I wasn’t paying that much as I am usually in a hurry.
Kate March 7, 2018, 11:59 am
My dad was driving to work once really early in the morning when it was still dark. He stopped at a stop sign for a one-way cross street where traffic moved really fast. His car stalled, which it never did at any other time. If he had gone, he would have been broadsided by a car with its lights off going really fast from the left.
Another time he was driving on the highway in snow, and came over a hill and saw a situation about to happen. Whatever he was going to do, he heard a voice loudly say, NO! and didn’t do it. I forget the exact details but if he did it, he’d have been involved in the serious accident that happened, but he went right through untouched.
I do feel like I’m being looked out for, like guided to do things, or not do things. I don’t hear the voice like other people in my family do, but I feel guided by right ideas if that makes sense.