Peggy B's Experience
My family and myself were on our way to a church sponsored ski trip in February 1977. My mother had died the summer before, my father 5 years before that. All of my siblings were in my mother's old station wagon, except one, who was more of a religious conservative and not a member of our church group. It had been raining when we left Boston for Grantham, NH. Somewhere along the highway, it began to snow, and soon was snowing heavily. Local radio had predicted light snow and this was clearly a serious storm with heavy, blowing snow. That part of the Interstate was not lit and high beams from the car just reflected back off the snow. I had to drive slowly with only low beams which were also reflecting uncomfortably making it impossible to see more than a few feet beyond the car. I had been a licensed driver for about 4 years and had never driven in such conditions. I was sure I was going to kill myself and my whole family. We did not have much extra cash and no one had a credit card. My youngest sibling was only 10. The next youngest was 12 and was suffering from a brutal onset of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. The remaining two were in their twenties, one 16 months older than my 23, the other two years younger. We discussed pitching in all our cash and getting a room somewhere for the night and to continue our drive in the morning after the snow ended. That decision made, we watched, in vain, for signs on the highway. We discovered we could not even see exits in time to make a safe turn off the highway. I was beyond terrified. I prayed. I prayed that if there was an accident and there had to be a death, that it would be me, and asked God to comfort my family, they had been through enough, to just make it easy for them. We went past at least a dozen exits, unable to see them in the dark and blowing snow. I was getting desperate and prayed even more. I was making deals with Jesus. Very suddenly, I felt a sense of calm and peace. The sensation was like there was a 'light' in the car, although it was still just as dark in a physical sense. I knew my prayers were being answered and that we would all survive. I cannot explain how I knew, but it was a very intense feeling.
Just moments later, we came to a spot that must have once been a toll plaza, the road was wider and brightly lit, more importantly, there were road signs telling us of exits up ahead. Knowing the next one was just one mile, we stayed to the right, by this time, back in the dark and snow, and found the exit, finally leaving the interstate. As we approached the bottom of the exit ramp, the car's engine just stopped and some warning lights came on. My faith in our being OK wavered a bit, stuck at the end of a dark, snowy exit ramp, fearing we would be hit from behind. I was trying to decide what my next move was going to be when a car on the local road stopped. Even at 23, I knew the three boys that got out of that car were too young to be out joy riding in those conditions. They asked if we needed help. I explained the car had just quit with no warning. They explained that in that kind of blowing snow, the fan had probably become snowbound. One of them returned the vehicle they had exited and came with a broom handle which they used to break up the snow around the fan. (Who keeps a broom handle with no broom in the car?) My car started up with ease.
Grateful for their help, we asked if there were a hotel nearby. They laughed and pointed across the street to what looked like a very large home. There was a sign but it was not lit. A parking lot on the side had a few lights. We thanked the boys and pulled across the street to the parking lot and my older sister went in to inquire about accommodations. Initially, she was told all the rooms were taken. Since the younger two were going to be in a bunkhouse at the ski lodge, we had sleeping bags in the car. We asked if the kids could sleep in a corner of a common room with their sleeping bags and the adults would sleep in the car. That changed things. The third floor was under renovation and had no heat, but had vacant rooms. We were offered an unheated room with two double beds which was happily accepted. We were told breakfast was included from 7-8am. The room was small and with five people inside, warmed up quickly. It was approaching midnight and we all fell asleep immediately. We were awoken early by bright sunlight coming through the window. We gathered up our gear and got ready to leave. My sister went down to pay the bill with all of the cash we had. She came back and handed everybody some change, saying we had only been charged $10., a linen fee. We were offered breakfast and we ate. We thanked the inn's owners and left for our car. When we got into the parking area, our car was complete free on snow, sparkling in the sun. There had been snow on it when we parked and it had snowed several inches in the hour before we fell asleep. We went back inside to see if the inn's owner knew who we should be thanking for cleaning our car. She told us her husband had cleaned it off earlier and checked under the hood to be sure we were OK to travel. My sister had mentioned when looking for the room that our car had broken down on the exit ramp and explained about the young boys who stopped to help.
I was still reeling from the intense feelings of answered prayers the night before. All of the kindnesses by the inn's owners just added to the sense of what can best be described as awe or marvel. There was also a 'why me' element. We continued on to the ski lodge about an hour away. We had some trouble getting up the steep hill that lead to the lodge, but with just a couple of tries we made it, with help from church members. Going inside, we learned that two vehicles that were known to have set out, still hadn't made it. The rest of the group took some comfort that we had found a place to stay and we prayed the others had as well. That turned out not to be the case, those two vehicles had skidded off the road in different places, but everyone was unhurt and safe and they arrived over the next few hours.
We had a great weekend, much of which I spent pondering the still intense feelings that occurred on that dark, snowy highway. We went home and over time, other than feeling sure my prayer had surely been answered, I did not think all that much about it. Somehow, I knew it was my 'best' prayer, i.e. I had really completely handed the situation over to God. I told one friend about it in the ensuing years, a very religious friend who really understood what I had meant.
The following year, a friend and myself decided to go skiing for a weekend and made reservations at the same lodge. We drove up a night early, planning on stopping at the same inn I had stayed when we got off the highway and not knowing the name of the inn, hoped they would have room. We found the exit easily enough and at the bottom of the ramp, there was nothing but an overgrown lot, no parking area, no inn. We drove up the road a few miles and found another place. I casually asked if there had ever been another inn at the bottom of the exit ramp. I was told there had been but that it had burned down a few years before. I asked if they were certain about the timing of the fire and they affirmed it had been at least three years, possibly four, they were not quite sure. At the time, I just believed they had the timing wrong.But it didn't really end there. Many years later, maybe 18-20 years later, married with a couple of kids, and separated from my husband, I was watching a late afternoon episode of Oprah. She had a female author on her show, someone who had written about angels. To this day, I can find no reference to that show, or to the author whose name I do not know. There had been some discussion about the book and angels in general, which I was listening to as I was online in the next room. Oprah then asked this author what form angels usually take and I felt a chill, like a wind blowing through the room. I knew what this woman was going to say and she did disappoint me. She answered teenaged boys. I still don't know if that is true, but I knew then that the 'boys' we encountered in that blizzard were not boys, just as surely as I knew we were going to be OK on that highway. Somehow, it was meant for me to understand, all those years later, that we had been helped by angels and I do believe.