Too Close for Comfort

Do you believe in Destiny? …that things happen for a reason … and that there is a higher power controlling the events in our lives? The Mountain Farmgirl surely does … and was never more convinced that sometimes our Guardian Angels fly MIGHTY close to keep us out of harm’s way.  Read about a very close call in Too Close for Comfort …


I’m out of town this week on a very rare, week-long, solo ‘vacation’ to visit family and friends in the Hudson Valley of New York State.  This lovely area in the Sleepy Hollow foothills of the Catskill Mountains, is my old ‘stomping ground’ … the place where Rip Van Winkle and I were born and spent the majority of our lives (Although FYI … Rip is a tad bit older than I).  I’m down here to do some historical research for a project I’m working on; and also to scope out the venues for my son Noah’s wedding that’s coming up in May. While I’m here I’m also enjoying the unexpected coming of “spring” which has not yet ventured as far north as my home in New Hampshire.  Here I have been regaled with sights of robins, blooming crocuses and witch hazel, and today I am basking in a glorious afternoon that’s even approaching the 70 degree mark!  (Oh My! … hubby says it’s snowing today up in New Hampshire …)

So here is what I’ve been thinking about almost non-stop since yesterday afternoon …  ever since I got a disturbing call on my cell phone from our oldest son, Christopher. These questions have been haunting  me:  Is life just a series of random chances?  Or are we protected from harm by unseen forces? Has fate predetermined the date and time of our deaths? Are there such things as Guardian angels who watch over and protect us?

Chris, our oldest, called me as he was driving back to work, having received an S.O.S. text from his wife. Let me tell you about it, and then I dare you to tell me that there wasn’t some Divine Intervention at work here!! (As you may have guessed, I’m already convinced there was!).



Chris’ wife, my new daughter-in-law, graduated from college last May, and is getting ready to take the GREs in preparation for applying to Med schools for the fall.  (Yup, she’s as smart as she is beautiful!).  But in-between schooling, Elizabeth is taking a year to do research in her field. She has a wonderful job she enjoys very much, doing brain research at a lab, and also field work studies a few days a week with patients at a Psychiatric hospital in Pittsburgh.  Her office is in one building, and she can walk from it to the Hospital by an outdoor sidewalk that connects the two structures.  However this past Thursday, it was raining hard and she had forgotten to bring her umbrella, so she decided to go a different route … one she doesn’t ordinarily take. It turns out that there is also an underground walkway connecting the two buildings, and rather than get soaking wet, she decided to walk through the tunnel, which took her into the basement of the Psychiatric hospital.  From there she got into the elevator, which took her up to the main lobby, which she would have otherwise walked into directly through the front door,  had she remembered to bring her umbrella to work. But that’s not all she would have walked into, I’m afraid. She would have walked into the direct fire of a madman wielding 2 semi-automatic pistols, who was at the very moment she entered the building, in the process of shooting everyone in sight.




 As the elevator door opened into the lobby, she instantly sensed that all was not right with the world. In front of her was a policeman aiming a gun down the hallway. “What’s going on … what should I do?” she asked, but he was so focused on the shooter at the end of the hall he did not reply. My daughter-in-law peeped her head out of the elevator to see what was happening, and saw several people lying on the floor. Whether they had been shot or had been ordered to get down out of the line of fire, she could not tell. She repeated her question to the officer: “What should I do?” … and when no answer was forthcoming and she heard shots, she instinctively (and intelligently) stepped back into the elevator, closed the door and went back down to the basement in a panic, where she contacted my son.  Chris works nearby, so minutes later he met her at a different entrance, where they were able to leave the building just as a SWAT team was arriving and surrounding the building.

 By the end of that ordeal, two would be dead, 7 seriously injured (but all expected to recover).  Had it not been raining that day, or had Elizabeth remembered to bring her umbrella, she would have walked right into the middle of the incident, and there could easily have been another casualty added to either category of ‘Wounded’ or ‘Dead’. Clearly, it was not her time to go. But was it Fate, Luck, Coincidence or Divine Intervention that prevailed in her favor?  Perhaps we’ll never know, but I do believe in a higher power that protects us until our time is up. Conversely, sometimes I think what we consider 'bad things happening to good people' are just 'part of the greater plan' that we cannot yet understand. I'm sure the wounded folks in Pittsburg are asking one huge "WHY?????     But so many times in my life I have felt a Protective Presence keep me or my loved ones from harm, though never in such a dramatic, life-and-death example way as Elizabeth's. I’d love to know where my farmgirl sisters weigh-in on this esoteric, and how ‘Divine Intervention’ (if you believe in such a thing) has impacted your life?

Until next time, when I’ll be back in the White Mountains, I send you
Mountain Bounty, Mountain Blessings from Cathi,
The Mountain Farmgirl



By: Nancy
On: 03/19/2012 09:49:08
I believe these things happen to all of us, though most of the time we don't realize that we were "saved" from something. How awesome!
By: Megan
On: 03/19/2012 12:14:14
Thank goodness they are all right! And yes, divine intervention is definitely what I would call this situation!
By: Debbi Fair
On: 03/19/2012 12:28:02
I saw this on the news and for some reason remembered your children but didn't realize that Elizabeth worked there. Yes, devine intervention was at work. It's always a little knee knocking and freighting when you look back on things like that. I'm glad she is safe. I often say when if I'm running late or something causes me to change what I'd planned to do - "perhaps my guardian angle knows better!"
By: Rita
On: 03/19/2012 12:31:31
Our Lord was the "Devine intervention" you speak of here today! This has happened many times in my life. We need to "listen" to what He saying to us. I believe you daughter was spared her life to fulfill a ministry somewhere. Only god knows and will reveal it to her one day! The medical field needs her! Blessings!
By: bonnie ellis
On: 03/19/2012 12:38:32
Cathi: It was definitely God's work. I am sooo glad that she didn't go out on that floor. Praise Him!
By: Claudia
On: 03/19/2012 12:54:35
I know that the divine hand of God is present every second in our lives. We have those little whisperings that we should or shouldn't do something. Sometimes we listen, sometimes we don't. He is always there, to help us if we just remember to ask. I am so happy that your daughter in law was safe. She has important work to do. I know that God's arm has been around me many times. You are blessed and so am I.
By: Kathy Davenport
On: 03/19/2012 14:12:57
I have no doubts whatsoever. We rarely get a chance to realize the divine interventions that take place every day. While in college I fell head first down a flight of marble stairs. Since I received only some bruises, I'm convinced my guardian angel somehow cushioned my fall. There have been other such times, but I'm certain there have been others. While we feel sorrow for those who were killed or injured, we must count with joy the number of those whom God saved that day!
By: Sandy Reid
On: 03/19/2012 15:37:19
This made me cry! I fully believe that God does work in this way! Im so glad your daughter in law was protected! I have had several things happen in my own life that makes me sure of our Higher power -Our Lord Jesus Christ!!!! Thank you for reminding me of his gift!
By: Colleen Hampton
On: 03/19/2012 16:37:21
Yes, we each have a Guardian Angel! My son says that my Guardian Angel gently broke my fall to the ground when I was thrown out of my vehicle following a 65-mph head-on collision. I received only very minor injuries when I hit the ground, but major, major injuries when the vehicles collided moments earlier. God has a plan for each of us!
By: Dorothy S
On: 03/19/2012 18:02:47
I also have no doubts that our God's arm has been around me many times. There are also things that have happened in my life that I wonder why but that is not for me to know yet.
It is His plan.
By: Heather :) :) :)
On: 03/19/2012 18:02:50
Oh wow, Cathi, I do believe that was divine intervention!!! Oh, I was reading this and crying...and so happy at the same time that your daughter-in-love is safe!!!! Isn't amazing how one little detail can change the course of our lives? I'm glad that she forgot her umbrella...because she's alive tody!!!! So thankful and happy for you and your family!!! Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather ;)
By: April
On: 03/19/2012 19:10:18
I'm a believer!
By: Shery
On: 03/19/2012 19:18:19
I know it has happened three times to me and I may never know what else I've been spared. Oh yes, I am a believer and I bet your dear DIL is now too if she wasn't before.
By: Nancy
On: 03/19/2012 19:42:16
What a blessing for your son and daughter-in-law! Certainly, His eye was on your sparrow!

By: Reba
On: 03/19/2012 20:42:26
I am so thankful that your daughter-in-law was spared. I feel sad for those who weren't. It's hard to decide...those families of the ones that lost their lives...would they think of this as divine intervention? I think I would just count my blessings and pray for those who lost their family.
By: angie
On: 03/20/2012 04:59:14
Absolutely! Our wonderful God is always protecting us until he calls us home! A few years ago my family had gone out to eat, coming home a car turned left in front of us and we t-boned the other car. My husband, which was driving, was shoved so hard that his knees went under the dash and ended up with cuts and bruises on them. He was wearing his seatbelt. My two kids in the back, one in a carseat which thankfully he was perfectly fine and the other with a seatbelt on ended up with a bloody nose from his head hitting the back of the front seat. Then there's me with no seatbelt on. As our car hit the other car,I sat there very calmly watching everything that was going on in slow motion! My body never moved! I felt something between me and the windshield because that's where I should have ended up! After it was all over my husband couldn't believe I was safely in my seat!
By: kathy schild
On: 03/20/2012 06:22:22
We are told in the inspired Word of God that He knows the number of our days here on earth, so divine intervention is, indeed, what/who protects us from death before our appointed time. My oldest son reminds me of this when he is preparing to leave on a mission trip to China and also when he is on a motorcycle in the city. :) :) :)
I'm so very glad your precious daughter-in-law is unharmed! My 22 year old has recently introduced us to a young lady who has become "more than a friend", and I've already fallen in love with her, so I can relate at least a little to the relief you must feel.
As RIta said earlier, God has plans for her. Just thank Him for that, and breathe......!
God bless!
By: Amy Vickers
On: 03/20/2012 06:49:00
Wow, what a story, I do feel God was there! and Love the fact that you daughter in law has a destiny to do something really great for the Lord. What a blessing...
By: Vivian Monroe
On: 03/20/2012 11:25:43
God is Good, and your daughter in love is highly favored. Jesus said He would never leave us nor forsake us and when He left this earth He sent the Holy Spirit to be our counselor, our friend in time of need. Who knows that someone wasn't praying for her just at that time, and when the word of God is spoken, angels immediately jump into action to fulfill His word. PS 91 tells us that as children of God we are protected. AMEN! God has a better plan for her and His plans will not be spoiled. AMEN!
By: Debbie
On: 03/22/2012 06:28:03
Oh Cathy, Yes, I do believe... I too have had a few " close calls " where I know I had help " from above "...I also believe in spirit guides! I think we have more help than we will ever know ON THIS EARTH. God bless you and your family...
I'm so relieved that your dil took a different route that day.
Much love,
your sister from the beach!
By: Noreen Pelchat
On: 03/22/2012 16:24:59
Dear Cathy,
God has His plan for us but I so believe that He sends his guardian angels to help us out. There have many times where, if I hadn't stopped to do something, our car would have been hit, etc. God is there for us! It is times like these that make us remember what is important in life.
God Bless,
Noreen in Vermont
By: Nicole Christensen
On: 03/23/2012 05:09:45
Wow, Cathi, what a story! I'm so glad your daughter-in-law is safe. I've always believed in Guardian Angels, and your beautiful daughter-in-law definitely had one looking out for her that day. I got chills reading how close a call that really was.

When I think of Guardian Angels watching over us, I think of when my daughter was a newborn, and she had one of those little play mats you put the baby on to let it kick its heels up at the toys dangling down. We had hired an electrician to put in an overhead light and ceiling fan in the playroom a few weeks before her birth. My daughter was laying on that mat on the floor when suddenly, with no warning, the ceiling fan fixture with its heavy glass light came crashing down, landing just inches away from the baby. She was fine,but nine years later, my stomach still turns when I think about it.

Big hugs to you, and to your beautiful and brave daughter-in-law.

Your blogging sis,
Nicole (Suburban Farmgirl Blogger)
By: Joan
On: 03/23/2012 21:36:34
Oh I believe - God is the higher power that is there ALWAYS for us and I am so thankful He was there for your daughter-in-law. Praise be to God.
By: cora jo
On: 03/28/2012 12:43:32
Cathi...Wow! Of course,I believe in God/Higher Power and in Angels to protect us...and obviously did do so for your daughter-in-love. Whew. cora jo
By: Susan O'Leary
On: 05/12/2012 05:02:18
I'm always calm in a crisis. I know I have someone's hand on my shoulder during these moments. To tell the truth I'm not especially brave during my normal waking moments and I don't like to take risks, but I've been present at several life and death situations and I'm always the one who steps up and takes charge. This surprises me afterwards. We are led. Surely. But this knowledge makes the randomness of those deaths in this instance so very hard to accept. How can we ever reconcile such things?

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Cathi Belcher

Cathi Belcher,
an old-fashioned farmgirl with a pioneer spirit, lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. As a “lifelong learner” in the “Live-Free-or-Die” state, she fiercely values self-reliance, independence, freedom, and fresh mountain air. Married to her childhood sweetheart of 40+ years (a few of them “uphill climbs”), she’s had plenty of time to reinvent herself. From museum curator, restaurant owner, homeschool mom/conference speaker, to post-and-beam house builder and entrepreneur, she’s also a multi-media artist, with an obsession for off-grid living and alternative housing. Cathi owns and operates a 32-room mountain lodge. Her specialty has evolved to include “hermit hospitality” at her rustic cabin in the mountains, where she offers weekend workshops of special interest to women.

“Mountains speak to my soul, and farming is an important part of my heritage. I want to pass on my love of these things to others through my writing. Living in the mountains has its own particular challenges, but I delight in turning them into opportunities from which we can all learn and grow.”

Column content copyright © 2010– Cathi Belcher. All rights reserved.

Mountain Bounty

“Keep close to Nature’s heart ... and break clear away once in awhile to climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods, to wash your spirit clean.”
– John Muir