Beliefnet
Reprinted with permission from Joan Wester Anderson's website.

Jan and Lee, a teenage couple, had gone to Huntington Beach, California rather late on a weekday. There were no lifeguards stationed along the shore, and hardly any people were there either. “The waves were huge,” Jan recalls. “There was a storm at sea, and the waves were breaking in sets, one after another, some really far from shore.” The few sunbathers left on shore were packing up to leave.

Jan wanted to impress her boyfriend. “Let’s go in!” she suggested enthusiastically, even though the waves were quite intimidating. Lee decided to stay on shore and spread out the blanket. Alone, Jan ventured into the high surf. “Before I knew what was happening, the waves got even bigger,” she remembers. “I wasn’t that far out, but as I tried to get back to the beach, I lost my footing and couldn't touch the bottom to propel myself toward shore.”

The enormous waves broke over Jan’s head, making it almost impossible for her to see the shoreline. Disoriented, she felt like a helpless cork, unable to fight the current no matter how hard she swam against it. Couldn’t Lee see her? Jan saw herself being sucked towards the giant storm farther out at sea. As another wave crashed down upon her, Jan realized that she was caught in a dreaded rip tide which was pulling her further and further away from the shore.  Jan saw herself being sucked towards the giant storm farther out at sea.  Weak, almost paralyzed with fear and exhaustion, Jan managed to scream “Help!” But, her plea was silenced by the surf’s roar.

“Then, at that very same instant I saw a hand reach out of the water right in front of me,” Jan says, “and a voice asked me calmly if I needed help! I remember grabbing the hand and then I blacked out or I was in shock because I don't remember much of anything else.” In what seemed like mere seconds, Jan found herself upright and walking out of the water onto the sand! Right next to her was a slightly-built, clean-cut, dark-haired boy about her age. “You okay?” the boy asked.

Okay? Jan was speechless, gasping for breath. How had this boy managed to pull both of them out of that strong and terrible current without the aid of a life preserver? And where had he come from? No one could have been out pleasure-swimming in that ocean!

“I guess so. Thanks…thanks a lot,” Jan managed to answer. The boy said nothing more, but turned and walked away slowly.

Bewildered, Jan looked around for a moment and spotted Lee, sitting on their blanket. Had he seen what had happened? Jan turned back, to point out her rescuer to Lee, but a chill ran through her. There was no one walking away from Jan, not a single figure on the deserted beach. The boy had disappeared as quickly as he had arrived.

“I asked Lee if he saw the boy who saved me,” Jan says, “but he didn't see anyone with me anytime, not even when I walked onto the shore. He didn't even know I was drowning only yards away.”

Jan says she was too young then to realize what had happened to her. Nor did she believe in angels and miracles. “But later,” she says, “after reading about angels and having many miracles, close calls, and strange experiences in my life, I realize I have a very helpful guardian angel. He accompanies me through my life, and I even know what he looks like!”

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