I tell you, some of these came to me that day.
As my friends and family can attest, my most favorite part of this entire experience came in the form of three acts of divine intervention (skip to #3 if you want chills). Read and decide for yourself, but I believe God had me safely in his hands. It strengthened my faith as a Christian. No matter what your faith, if these things happened to you, you’d be shaken too.
1. I asked God for help when I was on the rooftops and had almost slipped. And then I climbed my way down along a path that seemed to make perfect sense until I could go no further. But it was an American couple’s balcony I landed on and they helped me get home. They were the only Americans in the building, as far as I know.
2. I told you I was worried about the hospital costs and understanding the diagnosis. Well, no sooner had I taken to the gurney at the hospital than an older, portly gentleman in a trench coat and hat got off the elevator and approached my friend who was in the waiting room. He was an Italian who spoke English well, and said he had been visiting a friend, and heard us come in (Really? It was 4:30am.) While I waited to get my x-rays, he told us he was a retired doctor and had worked for 6 years in a hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas. He told me that I would likely not see a bill for my visit because of Italy’s public health system and he also said he would wait around to read my x-rays, speak with the doctor if needed and explain my diagnosis to me. He was a bit of an odd duck but chatty and friendly. When my results and prescription were given to me, he translated them for me. And then he popped up and said he needed to return to his friend. He went to the elevator and entered, leaving the two of us alone again with no one else around. Moments later, as we were driven away in our taxi, we passed him waiting at the bus stop outside the hospital and he waved at us. The hair went up on the back of my neck, and my friend and I looked at each other with “WTF? Did that just happen?”
3. As I mentioned in Hanging at the Police Station Kind of Sucks, I was put in a Fiat-like car with three officers and taken to the street where Marco lived. When we arrived, they asked me to point out Marco’s building. I knew the color of his door and the # of his building, and went straight to it. Then, they asked me to show them the building I exited from. I told them I did not remember because I had never turned around to look at it – I had been running for my life. But I told them the interior doors of the building I exited from were forest green. They seemed skeptical. They buzzed into the buildings on either side of Marco’s and brought me in. One had red interior doors. One had blue. They kept asking me, ” Whicha one?” I said neither. They became more severe with me and at that moment I realized for the first time they did not believe me about my escape. That had never occurred to me. I began to panic, asking God to help me over and over. I told the police to take me to Marco’s apartment and I would gladly show them the whole escape all over again. They said we could not enter Marco’s apartment. We were at a standstill.
Just then, a woman I had never seen before, appeared next to me. She asked me, “Excuse me, do you speak English?” I nodded. She asked, “Are you an American?” I said, “Yes. But I am a little busy right now…” And she said, “I think you’re the woman my husband let in off our balcony this morning.” I felt a sudden sensation of sweeping weakness as I turned to really look at her, collapsing into her arms. I choked out “Yes!” and told her my name. And she said, “God was watching you, Keri. Angels were watching you.” Her name was Angela. She said she had returned from dinner, saw us at the far end of her street and just knew it was me. Soon after, the older gentleman who had handed me tissues inside the apartment I exited the balcony from, appeared, and with tears said, “I have been so worried about you!” We hugged so tightly.
One of the police detectives approached and patted me on my back and said, “This is very good.” He asked Angela to show them where she lived. She agreed and walked us SEVEN buildings away from Marco’s. The officers seemed stunned, muttering in Italian to each other with each building we passed. She opened the building door revealing a beautiful (to me) view of forest green interior doors. The officer again patted me on my back. We climbed three flights of stairs and entered her apartment. The balcony was just as I said it was, and for the first time, I felt victorious. Truly, utterly, victorious.
Also on my mantle. Faith.
QUOTE: “For he will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways, they will lift you up in their hands…” Psalm 91