Thursday, October 2, 2008

On the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels

Angel - 1: Mountain - 0

How many times do you suppose our angels have saved us and we didn't even know it? They may have been the ones to hide a child's shoes so that, even though we got out of the door later than we intended, we were saved from a car accident. They may have turned away a purse snatcher or a burglar from our door unknown to us. How many times have they put their hands on the children's backs to keep them from falling off of swings? Or saved them from the more serious threat of evil friendships or bad places? There is no doubt about it, we owe our guardian angels far more than we even know!

But sometimes we do know beyond a doubt when they have stepped in.

The last weeks before Dominic and Jon left for school in Omaha this summer, I wanted to take each of them up to the mountains, just the two of us, for a mom and son hike. Neither of the boys had been to St. Mary's Glacier and I hadn't been in over fifteen years, so we decided that was to be the destination. Jon and I went up one week and got back down without mishap.

Then, Dominic hiked up with me the next week.

It's only a one mile hike, at most, but all uphill, with lots of boulders and big rocks to navigate. But it's worth the trouble when you get to the top. There's a beautiful lake just below the glaciers at the summit, surrounded by stunted pines and wild flowers. Dominic and I hiked up that far then stopped to get our breath and enjoy the breeze. My son, the labrador retriever, checked out the water and we took some pictures. Then, we decided to take a path through the hillside up to the glacier where we might be able to get some more pictures. It was a pretty easy path most of the way, and ended up leading to a hidden crevice, through which ran a little waterfall. Dominic decided he needed to climb down into the waterfall to get a good picture of how it flowed down into the lake. I told him to go ahead, but to be careful; it didn't look very dangerous, just a tiny streamlet without much incline.

So, he climbed down to it and took some pictures (Oh the places my camera has been!). Then he decided he needed to climb up the waterfall for what he thought would be better shots. I wasn't so sure about that, but it looked like there was a path that led to the top of the mountain, around and above the glacier. Once he got to the meadow above the glacier, he could easily go around and meet me at the top of the fork that we passed earlier. It didn't look too far. It seemed like a good plan, and maybe easier than climbing back down the waterfall.

But, as you might have guessed by now, it was not a good plan. The slant of the slope to the top was misleading from where we were. It was a much longer hike than we could tell, and the route to the meadow at the summit was blocked by a wide "finger" of the glacier. I didn't know this at the time, but, just as Dominic climbed out of sight I got a terrible feeling of dread and fear. I knew that my Guardian Angel was warning me about something, but it was too late to stop Dominic at this point, so I said a prayer to our angels then climbed back down and around to wait for Dominic at the fork in the path.

But he didn't come.

And he didn't come.

So, of course I started to get really worried. I called his name and hollared and called some more. Then prayed. And called and called his name. And waited and prayed. And started to make a plan in my head for calling 911, and how I would explain to them where we were... And then I prayed some more.

Then, just as I had started up the path to go find him, Dominic appeared over the rocks ~ coming back up from the waterfall. Thank Heaven!

This is what happened:

He had climbed up to a big rock outcropping to reconnoiter his path to the top and realized that it was going to be a longer, harder hike than we'd realized, and that he'd have to go over some of the snow and ice of the glacier, but, being fourteen and invincible, he decided he might as well continue on up.
And he got pretty far.
Before he slid on the ice and started careening on his back down the glacier.
If you look very closely at this picture, you can see his tracks in the snow. See the big rock formation in the middle the snow peninsula? His slide started straight above it and to the right. He slid straight down toward this rock ~ which is about the size of a school bus...

And then the slide mark just stops...

...and continues down at the bottom left of the rock. Dominic has no idea how he got over that rock. He ended up with some scrapes on his leg and arm and that's it. You'd have thought if he'd tumbled over the whole rock he should have been mangled. But, he didn't scrape over that rock, and there is no track in the snow along the left side of it.

There is only one explanation for it. His angel carried him over.

His angel's name is Mark.

Thank-you, Mark.
PS ~ My husband helped me put the red line on the photo here this evening to hilight the path through the snow. That helps, huh? (Thanks, dear!)


annemom6 said...

Lisa, I just love those stories! With so many boys as we have, you had better believe that we have plenty of them! Our Angels are working hard! Have you ever asked your child's guardian angel to help you figure things out? I will sometimes try that when I need to figure out the truth, if I just know someone is up to no good..I will ask their guardian angels to help me know who did it and what to do with the situation. Works every time, Deo gratias!

Lisa said...

Ann ~ It's the truth, isn't it? With a lot of boys, those angels have a lot of rescues! I haven't thought to ask their angels about trying to get to the "bottom" of something ~ but that is an EXCELLENT inspiration! I'm going to remember that! &;o) Thanks!

Donna said...

I had no idea, Lisa, that happened! Oh my, it brings tears to my eyes! Our Guardian Angels are absolutely wonderful!!! But, you already know I have a huge devotion to the Guardian Angels. I am so glad that Mark was there for him. Thank you Mark!!!!