Saints We Love

Wednesday, March 9, 2011



As a devout Protestant, and Bible teacher, I knew and believed in Angels. I knew they hid keys because so often I could not find mine. I am very organized and the keys should always have been where I put them. I would look for them, look again, think about them, dump out my handbag, look upstairs on my desk, downstairs by the kitchen phone and be so tired of looking then, suddenly I would go back to the original place, the place they should have been, and they were there. Hum, I knew that someone hid them and that I had probably just missed an accident or have caused an accident. I knew that. Often I would go out and, on the way, have seen the very accident I might have been piled up in - a serious one.

I had other reasons I knew I had an Angel, but mostly because the Bible had said HE would "give us Angels to keep us safe in all our ways."   I knew that was mostly spiritual,  as the Angel was not going to keep me safe if I “moved the cones” as no one interferes with my 'free will' - right? Right.

So my wonderful husband up-and-physically-died. I know he is not dead, as he has Eternal Life, but physically he is gone. I felt close to him for so long, too long actually, then he was still close, but not quite the same. I was reading Peter J. Kreeft's book Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Heaven, but Never Dreamed of Asking. In the beginning of the book Kreeft commented on a book by Sheldon Vanauken called A Severe Mercy. I loved the surprise of Peter Kreeft mentioning Vanauken,  as I had read A Severe Mercy, and loved the way Sheldon dealt with the death of Davy, his wife.

How wonderful God works to tell his stories to us! There is never a piece in the puzzle of life that is missing; we often just can't find where it belongs until we fill in the surrounding pieces.

Sheldon Vanauken spoke of the “Presence of the Absence” of his beloved Davy and then the experience of the “Absence of the Presence.” Finally Davy had to be gone; it was beautiful and I remembered weeping, clutching the book to my breast and sobbing, as I read that part of the book back in the 70s. I had also lost my first husband and a child and I knew how Sheldon felt after his loss.

So this behind us, having little to do with my Angel, I had to deal with this lingering husband and knew I had to release Tom. I HAD to release him, not only for me, but for him. It was not healthy to cling to him. So, I sat up in bed the next morning, and said it was time for him to go. I told him I would be okay. I told him I wanted him to have the fullness of where he was and not worry about me. I had kept him way too close!  I needed to stop coming home, driving into the garage, unlocking the door, turning off the alarm, coming in and calling out, “Honey, I'm home.” I always thought that he might lean over the balcony, smile and say something to me. Although that NEVER happened, I pretended it did. I knew that it was not a good thing to play that game and, if Tom knew it, he would have been worried.  So I really released him.

I would, however, come down the stairs in the morning and, as part of my prayer. I would thank the Lord for our home, the warmth, the memories and, even say to Tom, “Thank you for taking good care of me, thank you for making certain I was in the right place spiritually, thank you for our home and making sure I was not a burden to others financially.” Little swooning things like that. But I had let him go.

Gradually Tom was really gone. The Absence of his Presence was no longer there but I still did not feel alone. I was really not alone. I knew the Holy Spirit and His job description and I know the Lord and yet, I kept being "aware" of someone different in our home. It was not a scary thing. It was just new.

You thought I was never going to get here, right? Well, one day I turned quickly, and I almost bumped into someone; suddenly I knew who he was! I said it! “You are my Angel! I know YOU! I remember you! I remember you when I was a child! I don't even know your name! How rude! I love you!!!”

After that, I loved the time with my new Angel and I nearly talked him to death! I would say things like, “I am so sorry that Tom had to leave because he took his Angel with him and, since I have never lived alone before, you have never lived alone with me. Now we are both alone and you are stuck with me! I may not be fun for you. You have lived with our wonderful children, known their Angels (all 7 of them!) and you must have loved both of my engineering husbands. They were both brilliant men. You must have enjoyed being with them and their Angels when they were here. You had to love Tom Fenwick as he loved geography, and I really don't like geography. Tom loved science and I am a dud in science! Tom loved history and I don't even like the History channel much at all. I like Bible history so that helps. You must have loved him and his Angel. So I said to him, 'Sorry, I may bore you and I think you have to stay with me until you see me safely home, right?'"  As I said, I talked him to death.

I talked to him all the time - offered him any chair and suggested he claim Tom's chair in the library loft and the bedroom - telling him I was not sure he ever sat and I had no idea how big he was - and - did he mind my chatter and I always worried about his name. I told him I was praying to discover his name.

Now, I am a convert and in a Bible Study. I am the only convert there and much loved because I know the Word and the women there are impressed with that, they love my enthusiasm for the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and were always interested in my new Catholic discoveries. Really a great bunch of women! So I went to the study, told them all about my Angel! Well, they know about Angels in the Church! Catholic women know these things. The women in our class don't live alone yet - most are younger - and are not aware of the silence of their Angel hangin' round all the time - but they were interested and not many knew the names of their angels. Some of the women suggested I just give him a name but that was not acceptable to me. That was too much like a pet. Angels are Not Pets. Some said to ask him his name and I thought, he doesn't speak and, if he does not speak, I might imagine his name. I did not want to do that so I would just ask the Lord and keep asking for a name. I did that. I asked a lot of times. I thanked the Lord over and over for my Angel, told the Lord how much I appreciated not being alone, kept saying I would like to know his name to be more polite. I talked incessantly to my Angel, day and night, night and day, in the car, asked him NOT to come into the bathroom with me, and said goodnight when I went to bed. I never felt alone.

Several weeks went by and God answered the prayer. It was so wonderful and such fun! I have no doubt in my mind that it was God, as I do know God's voice.

One morning on the way to class, I was talking to my Angel in the car. I always talked with him in the car and sometimes asked him to remind me of times I might have met him as a person for a special meeting - and he did. I began to hear his thinking. Angels think to you. I told him I really wanted to know him. It was wonderful to learn things from him but since he does not talk I had to learn to think with him. I had to get to know him well. There were things I had to discover, then know and hear his thinking to know I was right. I began to be able to tell the difference. I was loving that experience.

Ok back to his name - whew - I am there now.

So this one day I was driving to Bible Study. There is an exit I always longed to pull over and exit 92 to go down to St. Mark's where the study met. It was so convenient, saved driving all the way to another freeway, and be in a lot of traffic.
I could be to the class earlier and, sometimes I could stop for donut holes for the leaders' class. It was a great exit but a killer exit. The people above on the overhead pass were coming off 280 from the north, San Francisco, and off 280 from the south, San Jose. When the expression “bat out of hell” is used, that is describing the cars in this freeway connection. The ones from the south merged with the ones from the north about 1 block above me and came down with 2 lanes entering my 92 where I was driving from Half Moon Bay. I had to be in the center 3rd lane or be dead. With no traffic you could make this exit with little problem, but there was always traffic in the morning.

That morning, thinking of the move, I said suddenly to my Angel, “I know you could get me over there safely, couldn't you? It is not just for me, it is for the Bible class and for getting there early. You could do that, I know you could.”

Well, suddenly they all came alongside me and it was all over. No chance. The span for this area to exit is all of about 1 city block going 65 an hour at least, and there was no way I could make it with this traffic. But, suddenly a large white van, with dark windows, pulled alongside of my little VW and slowed down to an almost STOP in lane 2, showing me I could get in front of him! I tried to wave quickly to thank him but the dark windows prevented that. WOW! I was in lane 2 now. Surely that man was going to be rear-ended but not so. Then, just as suddenly, remember they are going 65 or so, another white van, from lane 1, just like the first one, with dark windows, pulled alongside me in the next lane and almost stopped dead to let me cross over and, with that, wheeeeee!!! I was on the exit lane and out of there! I had just taken the Ralston exit to go down Ralston all the way, passing the University of Notre Dame, crossing El Camino all the way to the turn for St. Marks. It was a big happy moment for me! I shouted, “You did THAT for me, didn't you? Those white vans were Angel vans!”

Well, at the class I said I had an Angel story and shared it with the women. They loved the 2 white Angel unmarked vans with dark windows. Surely they were Angel vans. We had much laughter and went on to do the lesson, moved out for the rest of the class. When we met for the lecture I was sitting, still on a high thinking of my Angel getting me off at that exit safely. He was such a gift from GOD and I knew it. Remember the Lord said, "I will 'give' you Angels . . ."

I was feeling warm and happy, listening to the lecture, and leaned back to look up at the sun coming in the skylights. I felt quiet, silent, but then I heard a voice say, “You MAY call him Ralston.” I knew that voice.

“You MAY call him Ralston.” I thought to God, “Of course, I will. I will call him Ralston.” For some reason I knew that was not his real name, but I have no curiosity about his real name now. He knows that. I think he has a far more glamorous name but I love Ralston. I know that the Lord gave me the adventure to take me back to the 'window in time' when my Angel helped me, and the Lord said, “It is time, show her.”

I know the Lord wants me to remember the day, the moment, the exit named "Ralston" forever.

And that is how Ralston got his name.

I have never seen Ralston in our home, nor heard his voice. I have even told him it might "freak me out" if I did, but truly one day, I hope he speaks. I almost always know exactly where he is. I know he loves Mass and he is on the altar during Mass. I know he knows I love him, and I know he knows I love the Lord for giving me an Angel I 'may' call Ralston.

Terry Fenwick - who lives with Ralston in HMBay


Anonymous said...

Terry, I loved reading this story! Sobbed most of the way through it. I must say our guardian angels are so precious! I had heard years ago after returning to the Catholic Church that there was a way to know your guardian angels name. Be in the state of grace, receive communion and then ask the Blessed Mother to reveal the name to you. I did just that. The name I got was Raphael. I would have never thought of that name in a million years just as I'm sure you would never have thought of Ralston. It is so comforting to be able to call him by name. Thanks for sharing.

Terry Fenwick said...

I love it - well, I was surprised but the Lord only said I MAY call him Ralston and I am sure he has a more dignified name but I will probably even call him Ralston in heaven. I love Raphael. Do you ever interview yours?

Anonymous said...

Oh, Terry. You are way beyond me with all of this! I have never thought to interview him.

Pam (Rose) Beeler said...

And the wonderful thing is that all of our angels are friends of the angel that you "may" call Ralston. :-)

Terry Fenwick said...

WISDOM 10:10 When a righteous man fled from his brother's wrath, she guided him on straight paths; she showed him the kingdom of God, and gave him knowledge of angels; * she prospered him in his labors, and increased the fruit of his toil.

Terry Fenwick said...

Augustine tells of a vision of seeing a little boy at a beach scooping up the ocean thimbleful by thimbleful and emptying it out on the sand. Then he sees an angel who tells him that this boy will have emptied out the entire ocean long before Augustine has exhausted what can be said about God.

Peter Kreeft

Terry Fenwick said...

Love for an Angel is such a different kind of love.

Every time I turn to him, I smile, as he is always there and so settled-in.

I love talking to him about how I was given to him and he was given to me. I am certain I have mentioned, how once, I almost apologized to him for having to settle for "just me" when he might have been the Guardian Angel to the Pope or someone like that and, midway through, Ralston thought right back to me - though I speak to him as well as think to him - he only thinks to me. (Wonderful language when you learn it!) But that time he thought back to me, midway, he would not want anyone but me as I was chosen for him by GOD (I think at creation) and, I just melted when he said this, as I knew it was True! I was the best GOD had for Ralston and Ralston was perfect for me.

I just had thought how fun it might have been to usher someone like John Paul II in - but no, I am the best for Ralston.

Course they all 'rub wings' with the other Guardian Angels in the heavens. I always wonder if they report in and how embarrassed I must have made him in my lifetime - but I think not. His 'wings' are tied about my free will and I have always had so much going on I did not hear him or know him. But, I do now. Lots of catching up to do.

Terry Fenwick said...

‎"The angels are our guardians, who free us when hindered, and help to bring us home."St. Thomas Aquinas, 13th century.

‎"Our angels govern all our affairs and bring us help. "St. John Damascene, 8th century ...

Gabriella said...

YOU ARE A PRECIOUS SOUL! I thank God that He gave Ralston to you, and I thank God he gave you to all of us<3

Fiorella said...

I can't thank you enough for sharing this story Terry. Just wonderful! It helps strengthen our faith!

Anonymous said...

I loved your story about theangel vans. I am going to be more attentive to my angel from now on.