+JMJ+ Someone asked on Twitter today if anyone had ever seen anything holy or demonic (outside of the sacraments as he later clarified, which is exactly what I understood him to mean and hence my answer). I gave a brief Twitter reply but here on the blog I can tell the story in a fuller, more fleshed-out fashion. So here it is.
Out of Nowhere
It was a dark and stormy night on a lonely road. Well, the night was dark and the road was lonely, but the only storm was my heart thundering in my chest. It happened many years ago but I remember well how the car appeared behind me, out of nowhere, traveling so close behind I thought surely the driver was going to ram me. I sped up to get away but the driver sped up, too. I slowed down and signaled for the driver to pass me (we were on a divided four-lane highway), but the car slowed and matched my speed.
There were no other cars on the road, no place to turn off except for a turn onto another long, lonely stretch of road and I didn’t even consider it an option. We kept speeding up, slowing down, speeding up again. Finally the car pulled up alongside me but I didn’t try to see the driver, all I could think about was getting away.
At last we came to a major intersection where there were ramps to enter and exit a freeway. There was a traffic light and just beyond the light there was a gas station with a convenience store. I’d been stopping there for many years but I was never so glad to see it. As we approached the traffic light, it was amber and I slowed down with the other driver behind me, then just as the light changed to red, I stomped on the brakes so the other driver had to stomp on his brakes, too. Then I floored it and flew through the light that had already turned red.
I pulled into the gas station parking lot and up to the convenience store building and parked outside it in the most brightly lit spot I could find. There were only a few people there and I didn’t know any of them, but I was glad to see them all. As I got out of my car and headed for the door, the other driver pulled into the lot and drove slowly to where I was standing and stopped a few feet away from me. I looked into the car then. I never could see his eyes but I did see his grin. That was the most humorless grin I’ve ever seen, a thoroughly unpleasant grin, an evil grin.
The hair on the back of my neck stood up and I have to tell you, I felt ill. (I can feel my heart racing even now as I write these words. I’ve only had this feeling a few times in my life.)
I went into the store and stayed, taking as long as I could to select a few items to buy, waiting for him to leave, enjoying the bright lights and the people and the noise. When I checked the parking lot before I went back to my car, there was no sign of the other driver. He was gone and I’ve never seen him again, except in the memory of that encounter which sometimes appears to me again. Out of nowhere.
Outside the Abortuary
I have had a few other encounters with evil. One day when I was praying with friends from our local 40 Days for Life group (I think it was in 2009, the first prayer vigil in which I took part), I was walking up and down the small hill outside the abortuary on a side of town for which I used to have great affection. I’d had many apartments there, had walked the neighborhoods, always feeling safe, that I was among friends, even if I didn’t know them personally.
That has changed.
I didn’t even know the abortuary existed and I still don’t know how long it had been at that location. I just found out that the company itself has been in my hometown since 1930 or thereabouts. So, more than enough time for the evil to have spread its poison into the area, whenever it metasticized into this particular neighborhood.
I was walking up and down the low-sloping hill (that felt more like a mountain due to my lung problems) and had just finished the long climb toward the top of the hill where I would turn and head back down, praying the Rosary all the way, intent on the prayers, meditating on the Mysteries. I had taken a few steps to cross a driveway that led into the abortuary parking lot when I heard a car’s engine nearby. Too near. The driver gunned the engine and cut the wheel short so that he ran over part of the sidewalk and grass, partially into the driveway itself, also narrowly missing me. Providentially, my Guardian Angel must have stopped me, because I had stopped as soon as I heard the revving engine approaching. Had I taken one step more the car and my body would have made contact. I hate to think about what might have happened then.
I looked at the driver but didn’t say a word. I was still praying my Rosary. He rolled the window down and smiled. Not a pleasant smile. But still I thought maybe he was going to apologize.
He said, “Keep it over there!” and jabbed a finger to point at the sidewalk in front of the abortuary where a few of my friends were now gathered.
I said, “I can walk on this sidewalk anytime. It’s public property.”
He growled, yes, growled, “This is our neighborhood!”
I got the distinct impression that he did not refer simply to the people who lived there but to what lived alongside them, perhaps within them. And I also had the impression that I’d seen his face before but I’m sure I hadn’t. But it seemed so familiar.
Then he floored it and continued his slanted path across the driveway and into another parking lot, and parked behind a building of apartments facing another street. I watched him walk away from his car until I couldn’t see him anymore, then continued to pray the Rosary as I walked back down the hill to rejoin my friends.
Definitely not the neighborhood I once knew. I’ve never felt home in that part of town again. Ever.
Well, that’s two of my encounters with evil. My Guardian Angel kept me safe on both occasions, as he has on so many others.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, whoever and wherever you are, please, live well, stay virtuous and holy. May the Lord bless and keep you and yours, and may His peace be always with you. +JMJ+
Notes and Links
- 40 Days for Life: find a group in your town.
Images: Evil grin, from a wallpaper, edited by me. The Guardian Angel Protecting a Child from the Empire of the Demon, by Domenico Fetti. Wikimedia, public domain.
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