Armchair Angel

Jackie Commins, of Newberg, Oregon, is a firm believer in heavenly help. One evening shortly after New Year's, however, she learned even more dramatically how well God and his angels take care of her.

Because no heat gets to Jackie's bedroom, she sleeps on a couch in her living room during the winter. The couch is opposite her front door, and there is one window in the room; both open onto a small porch. Anyone on the porch can see directly into the room because curtains cover only the sides of the window.

Jackie was nearly asleep that evening when she was startled by loud knocking at the door. Since she lives alone and her lights were out, she decided not to answer. Whoever it was would surely go away.

But the knocking continued, and now Jackie could hear the low voices of two men. They were talking on the other side of the door, just a few feet from her. Suddenly, one shone a flashlight through the window of the door, its ray narrowly missing her as she lay curled up on the couch. Jackie's heart began to pound. These men were obviously up to no good.

Again they murmured to each other, although she couldn't make out the words. Then she heard footsteps moving stealthily toward the window, and again the flashlight went on. Its beam traveled slowly across the floor as far as it could go, then outlined Jackie's armchair, which directly faced the window. Just a thin pane of glass separated her from the intruders. Jackie began to pray. "Oh angel, come and help me..."

The light beam, which had been moving slowly across the armchair suddenly stopped. Abruptly it clicked off, and Jackie heard one of the men talking excitedly to the other. The light went back on again, as if the second man was now holding it. Once again he focused the beam on the chair, then quickly extinguished it.

"Let's get out of here!" Jackie heard one of them exclaim, no longer attempting to be quiet. Two pairs of feet clattered across the porch to the staircase. In just a few seconds, there was silence. But it took Jackie several hours to fall asleep.

Days later, when Jackie read her weekly newspaper, she learned what had happened on that frightening night. Two men were in police custody, charged with burglarizing several houses in an area surrounding Jackie's neighborhood. The thugs had posed as travelers in distress, needing to use a phone. When kindly people opened the door, the men had overpowered them, and robbed them of valuables and holiday gifts still under the tree. Obviously they had had similar plans at Jackie's house. Except for one thing, the question that has intrigued her ever since.

What (or whom) did the men see sitting in the armchair?

Joan Wester Anderson

(From: WHERE MIRACLES HAPPEN, by Joan Wester Anderson, published by Ballantine Books.)

The following bio was put together by me (Michael). It is longer than usual, but I wanted to share as much about this wonderful author as I could!

Author and lecturer Joan Wester Anderson was born in Evanston, Illinois. She began her writing career in 1973 with a series of family humor articles for local newspapers and parenting magazines. She was a monthly columnist for two parenting publications during the 1980's, and has published more than one thousand articles and short stories in a variety of national publications, including Woman's Day, Modern Bride, Virtue, Modern Maturity, Chicago Parent, and The New York Times Syndicate.

Her 12 books include Where Angels Walk, True Stories of Heavenly Visitors, which was on the New York Times bestseller list for over a year, has sold almost two million copies and has been translated into fourteen languages.

Joan has appeared on national television programs including "Good Morning America," "Oprah," "20/20," and "NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw."

She and her husband live in suburban Chicago, and are the parents of five grown children, and grandparents of one.

Joan's newest book is the authorized biography of Loretta Young which is available in bookstores nationwide or you can order it from at:

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