Still Waters: Fool among the angels

I am so grateful that God suffers fools on April Fools Day and every other day.

I can think of some times that I have been very foolish but my angels protected me anyway.

For example, I attended college in Lincoln, Nebraska, the nearest location for a college run by my church. I had no car so mostly stuck around the campus, but one time I needed to get some supplies for a class, and the on-site bookstore did not have them. The teacher told us where we could go in the city to buy them. The store was way downtown.

It was late afternoon by the time I was able to catch a city bus to go downtown, but the store was still open, so I rode the bus as far as I could go (I can’t remember now why I couldn’t get all the way there on the bus) and realized I would have to walk several blocks to get to the store. This was downtown, now after dark, in a big city, and this naïve college girl was walking alone through some pretty questionable areas of town. I was nervous but determined to get the supplies I needed.

Stubbornness runs in the family. Unfortunately I didn’t also inherit the common sense gene my mother has. She says sometimes when dealing with foolishness that she was cursed with common sense.

Anyway, I made it to the store, and I’m sure my angels were working a bit overtime as I passed “gents” on the street who could have done me harm. I bought the supplies I needed and caught the very last bus from that location that would take me back to the college.

A couple of years later, right out of college, I spent about a year in Missouri, and this time the angels were protecting both me and a hitchhiker along the highway. I was using my folks’ car to get around, and I tootled around those Missouri roads like nobody’s business. I was living with an older often-cranky couple in Lampe, a spot in the road that might have had a gas station, but that was about it. It was across the lake from Branson, which now is a major tourist attraction but at that time in the early 1980’s was just a seasonal entertainment resort town. During the winter the town was dead and everybody was on unemployment.

At any rate, I talked the couple I was living with into letting me have a puppy, who never had a more proper name than Pupper, but he was an awesome dog through his few short years. I took him with me in the car, and one night I was distracted with him for a moment and started to veer off the highway onto the side of the road. I looked up just in time to see a hitchhiker jumping out of the way as I headed towards him. I thought about going back to apologize but was afraid he might deck me on sight, so I kept going and thanked God that he saved us both from something that would have ruined our lives forever.

I wish I could say I wised up as I grew older, but there have been a few doozies in the more recent past as well.

Like the time I decided to cover the mineral stains in my bathroom sink with paint and initially used white spray paint, without thinking of the health hazards of spraying paint in a small enclosed space, without a face mask. Maybe that explains the memory losses …

And just last year my angel and probably a couple of her buddies had to work overtime to protect me from an intruder who showed up in my house at 4:30 a.m. It was summer, so I had left the front door open to let the cool air in but had foolishly not locked the gate into the yard. This “gent” probably saw it as an open invitation to check the place out.

I had actually not been in bed long when I heard my two dogs growling in a way I had never heard before. They were both positioned in front of my bedroom door. The intruder and I were both surprised to see each other when I ran out into the living room. I don’t remember what he said, but I remember I told him, “You need to leave. My dogs will bite you.” He paused briefly, as the dogs continued to growl, and then turned around and walked out of the house saying something to the effect he believed my dogs probably would bite him.

As soon as he left, my dogs ran out and started telling him what they would have done to him if he had stayed any longer, and of course I locked everything up before going back to bed. The guy hasn’t been back, probably because he was disappointed to find the most valuable item in the living room was an out-of-tune church piano my ex-husband had bought about 30 years ago for $50.

I am more than convinced that God protected not only myself that morning but also my dogs and the intruder, because normally my dogs would have run over to the “visitor,” one of them to get pets and the other to give bites.

I know I’m in good company on April Fools Day, because a fool is born every minute (or less), to paraphrase P.T. Barnum — and am grateful the good Lord continues to protect us anyway!


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