At the age of four, my mom told her mother that she would marry a man named George and have two children…and she did. Our family lived in an idyllic neighborhood in Westchester County, about an hour from New York City. My dad mainly worked from home, but once a week, he would make the commute by train to Manhattan.
One morning, Dad took off for the city, and Mom became overcome with a sense of dread, a premonition of harm. She gathered her books (Bible and Science and Health) together and took us children across the street to the lake.
Our house was surrounded by woods – deer, raccoons, opossum, and skunks, not to mention birds and squirrels, routinely at the bird (and in the winter, horse) food my parents put out for them. Across the road from our long gravel driveway, beyond a short stand of trees, was Lake Hawthorne, the center of our community and of my life as a child. And it wasn’t a namby-pamby pool. This was a nice sized lake filled with fish and snails (my fault) and snapping turtles. It had a dam and short boulder-cliffs (maybe fifteen or twenty feet. They sloped though, so the jump in was probably more like six feet,) a bridge that crossed it at a narrow point, a beach, and, best of all, a solid wooden float a nice swimming distance from the beach, for us children to swim to, play on, and push each other off of.
So, while my brother and I blithely played, oblivious, Mom sat down and read the Bible Lesson our church issues every week. When she was done with this, she kept praying. She prayed and she prayed and she prayed, as hard as she could for the whole day. (It was easy to spend the whole day at the beach. I’m sure my brother and I were delighted.)
Finally, towards the middle of the afternoon, a feeling of peace came to her, and she got up and went about her business.
That night, my father returned from New York excited and faintly stunned. As he approached his train to come home, it just came to him to sit somewhere else, somewhere other than his normal seat…and he did.
On the way home, the train suffered an accident. Everyone in the part of the train where Dad usually sat was killed.
I heard about this at a Wednesday Night testimony meeting. My mom was a little sad that her prayers were not able to save everyone, but she was so grateful for the protection that came to my father. I am immensely grateful, too! In addition to the sorrow and hardship it would have caused to lose my dad, most of my best memories of him came from after this event.
We truly are under the shadow of the Almighty!