Christina Pessemier is a writer, blogger, and mom of two. She was raised in the Orthodox Church and ended up leaving the church as a teenager, only to come back to it as a young adult. She enjoys learning about the faith that was handed down to her from her ancestors. Christina enjoys writing about relationships, health and wellness, and pop-culture.
It was a typical cloudy, drizzly morning in a Seattle suburb near my home. I had just taken my dog for a walk in a park near my daughter’s school. Funny how empty the park is today, I thought to myself. Usually, there were at least a few people on their morning walks or a toddler or two in the playground swings. I gave my pup a boost into the car and slid into the driver’s seat, turning the keys into the ignition. I looked down to check my phone for emails before I drove off and then looked up. A tall man in his twenties wearing a backpack and hooded jacket was walking toward me, a woman alone, in an unlocked car, in an isolated parking spot.
I didn’t think or take time to process it. I just reacted. Instantly, I pressed the button to wind up the window and clicked the locks. “No,” I mouthed, my head shaking in warning for him to back off. His eyes charged at me, widening. And that was when things went haywire. Apparently, “no” was not the answer he wanted to hear. Behind the inquiry for help came his intentions. Whatever they were, they weren’t good.
“You bleeping bleep!” he roared, running toward my car. (I don’t think OCN would allow me to write the actual words he used, and I prefer not to use them anyway.) Oh God, here we go, I prayed as my shaking hand moved the gear shifter into reverse. “Move, move, move, girl!” I told myself. How am I going to get out of here? He’s in my way. I needed to make a split-second decision.
He was shouting, hurling insults. His arms outsretched, blocking my car from the exit. “That’s why you live in this area because you’re that type of girl, aren’t you? You bleeping snob! All I wanted was some help! But no, a bleeping bleep like you won’t help me!” Never in my life had I been called the names he called me. But I didn’t care. All I wanted was to get away from this man and get to safety. I swerved, veered around him, and sped out of the parking lot as I watched him chase after me, still screaming. Then, after a few seconds, he bolted in the other direction.
A few minutes later, I pulled off and called 911. Thankfully, I had a detailed description, and they assured me officers were on their way. Then, I called my husband and cried. He was very relieved I was okay.
Robberies had occurred in the area that morning, and I wondered if this had something to do with me running into this man. The area I was in is known for top-rated schools and safe neighborhoods. I would never have expected something like this to have happened where it did. But it did. And I’m alive and unharmed, and that’s what matters.
But not everyone is so lucky.
I remember a local sheriff coming to talk to a women’s group I was once part of. “In almost every case where a woman was attacked and lived, she recalls feeling like something was strange, but she ignored it.” It’s that little whisper that’s in the back of your mind, telling you something’s not right. I believe it’s God given. The thing that makes it hard? It’s not easy or convenient or cool to listen to it sometimes. But not listening can sometimes mean life or death, or dire consequences.
I work as a swim coach, and am trained to administer first aid, CPR, or oxygen when necessary. But sometimes, the best response isn’t spelled out in a Red Cross Training Manual. Sometimes, pure instinct and being tuned into it is all that matters. So, I teach my daughters to follow their gut. I remind them regularly that God gives them an instinct to protect them, and that they need to listen to it. And they do. Often, they have pointed out to me that they don’t feel comfortable with someone, even when I might not feel that way myself. Many times, I have seen their observations prove to be correct, and I am thankful I taught them what I did. God blesses us with so many things. On that day last week, I felt as though I could almost touch the wings of my guardian angel as they were shielding me.
“What would have happened if he came up behind me when I was throwing the dog waste bag away?” I wondered aloud to my husband later that night. “What if I let him get close to the car and tried to help him? What if he had a gun?”
Who knows? All I know is that I am so thankful for that little whisper and that I chose to listen.
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