GnatA few years ago I worked for a company that sent me out on the road to some of their remote sites to do maintenance work. These sites were, for the most part, open fields approximately 100 to 160 acres in size. On these sites were huge piles of metallic ores such as manganese, beryllium, chromium, ferrochrome, and many others. Occasionally, these fields would have to be mowed and the buildings would need repairs, so I would go out and do the repairs, and if the weeds and grass hadn’t gotten too much out of control, I would use a tractor with a brush hog type mower and cut it back down. Sometimes though, I’d have to call contractors to come into the fields to mow the waist-high grass and weeds with their heavier equipment.

This one particular site was in an isolated area of central Pennsylvania that was prone to heavy rainstorms with an extraordinary amount of lightning, possibly attracted to the area by all the ore piles. It was surrounded by a 10-foot high cyclone fence for security, with gates to allow access to a road that went through the center of the property.

That day was another very hot, mid-August day, and I could see Kevin (the contractor), on the far side of the road, traveling back and forth across the field, baking in the hot sun. Around one thirty in the afternoon, I noticed some very heavy rain clouds coming over the nearby hills, and knew that another storm was coming. I waited awhile to make sure that we actually were going to get rained out, before calling Kevin in from the open area, hoping to let him get as much mowing done as possible. When the sky started to darken and the wind picked up, I hopped into my pick-up truck and went out to the field to call him back to the building.

As I stood by the edge of the field, waving to Kevin, signaling him to get back to the shop building, the first few heavy raindrops began falling. Then, as the first burst of lightning lit up the sky, and the first crash of thunder shook the air, Kevin sailed passed me on his tractor like an eighteen wheeler on Interstate 80.

After locking the gate on that side of the road, I got back into my pick-up and pulled inside the second gate. The latch was broken on this gate and I had to wrap a short length of chain around the gatepost and then through the edge of the gate. By then the lightning was closer and the rain was just starting to get a little heavier. I shoved the thick chain around the post and threaded it through the diamond shaped openings in the fence on the gate, and held both ends in my one hand.

Next I took the open lock off the fence, where it had been hanging, with my other hand. Just when I was about to put the lock on the chain, a gnat flew into my open right eye. That stung. It stung so much that I instantly dropped the lock and the chain and put my hands to my eye, taking one step back at the same time. Not a second later, lightning struck that fence somewhere close by and I saw the whole fence in front of me light up and glow bright blue. That beautiful but lethal shade of light blue from high-voltage radiation nearly filled in all those little diamond shaped openings in the fence.

I stood there awe struck as I realized what had just happened. I was standing, wet, in rain, holding onto a chain, that was threaded through a metal fence, that was just about to be struck by lightning, when an insignificant insect, an annoying pest, a bug, flew into my eye and saved my life. I was completely unharmed, not even a tingle.

Now, I’ve always believed that we each have a guardian angel, but I don’t know, for sure, how they do their work. At night when I lie down to go to sleep, I thank those guardian angels for the work that they do. Who knows how many times they saved my life and I don’t even know about it.

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