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Angels in our Laps

by Joan Wester Anderson
used by permission

The trip had started out like hundreds of others. Lorie Torbeck, of Appleton,
Wisconsin-with the help of her teenage daughter, Eryn—-had buckled the seven
children who attended Lorie’s home day care into their seats in Lorie’s big
Chevy Suburban, in preparation for a quick trip to the high school. “Eryn
was a cheerleader, and it was yearbook picture day for the team,” Lorie
says. “The kids and I had made this quick trip dozens of times.” Now,
as they were driving along a narrow stretch of highway, a white panel truck
came toward them. Lorie moved over a few inches, onto the shoulder, to give
the truck ample room to pass. But as she tried to return to the highway, her
tires became stuck in what was a six-inch drop from the concrete to the gravel
shoulder. The vehicle began to fishtail.. “Hold on!” Eryn screamed.
The van rolled over.

“Dear God, not now–the children are with me!” Lorie remembers her
silent plea, as the van rolled a second time. Immediately she heard a voice
saying, “Don’t be frightened. God is with you and you will all be all right.”
She also had a vision of angels sitting on the children’s laps, wrapping their
arms around each little one. “An overwhelming sense of peace came over
me,” Lorie says,and she was able to relax even as the truck became airborne
and flipped twice more, then came to a rest upright on a grassy incline.

The sudden silence was horrifying. Lorie had heard the children screaming as
they rolled, but now all was silent. She was afraid to turn around and look,
and instead fumbled for her cellphone. Where was it? Suddenly everyone was crying
again. Cars above them were stopping, and someone waved his cellphone. “Call
an ambulance!” Lorie yelled to him, then turned to help the children. Amazingly,
everyone was alive, and she flew into action, pulling back two of the boys who
were attempting to scramble through the broken windows, then passing four of
the preschoolers through to bystanders who had come to help. Eryn unbuckled
Makayla, the screaming baby, from her carseat—she had probably saved Makayla
from serious injury by wrapping herself around the baby as the van rolled. As
the second-to-last child was removed, it suddenly occurred to Lorie that the
van might roll again! And three-year-old Cody was still inside, too far for
her to reach him! “But the people would not
let me crawl back to reach him,” Lorie recalls. “I had to wait until
the police arrived, and they got him out.”

Wearily, Lorie climbed the hill. Good Samaritans had, by now, set all the children
on a blanket, and were keeping them comforted and safe. Lorie did a quick exam,
and discovered that four had escaped all injuries except bruising from their
seatbelts. The other three had glasscuts on their arms (they eventually received
stitches) but nothing more serious. As the ambulances arrived, she was able
to examine herself, and realized that she had severed an artery in her head,
causing her to be covered in blood, as well as a broken vertebra. Her ponytail
had been completely torn from her head, and was found later in the grass. “The
first policeman told me later that when he arrived on the scene and saw the
damage to my truck, he expected to be pulling bodies out of it,” Lorie
says. “No one could believe that none of the passengers was seriously injured.”
Later, Lorie discovered that an aunt of hers who lived seventy miles away had
been moved to get down on her knees and pray
for a relative who was traveling. The feeling came upon her at 3:30 pm, the
exact time Lorie’s truck began to roll.

It was a miracle. It had to be. But a few days later, Lorie recognized its
full extent. One of the boys had an announcement to make. “There were angels
in our laps in the truck that day,” he told Lorie matter-of-factly, then
ran off to play. Before she could react, another child told her the same thing.
Lorie remembered her vision—an angel in each child’s lap, shielding and protecting
each little body—and the calm voice which assured her that everyone would
survive the accident. She had not mentioned this experience to anyone except
Eryn, and yet the children knew. She gives thanks each day for this gift.

Copyrighted 2005 by Joan W. Anderson.

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