Thursday 17 April 2008

Angels on Assignment: Peters Story

Angels on Assignment: Peters Story

Once upon a time--for we all know the best stories begin that way--not too long ago and not too far away there lived a little boy named Peter Raymond Murphy. Peter to his friends. I am lucky to count myself as one of those friends. But I am getting ahead of myself; there are some things you should
know about Peter before I begin this tale.

As Anne of Avonlea says of her prized student, Paul, Peter too appears to have a spirit and a soul that is much older then his body. In many ways Peter is more man-boy, but then again he is still just a child. He runs and plays, laughs, jokes and gets into scrapes, as a middle male child is wont to do. He can be running and playing with the rest of the children, but will stop, all of a sudden, and climb up into your lap, place his hand on your face and stare into your eyes for twenty to thirty minutes. Then, just as quickly, he will hop down again and join the other children at play. What he is looking at, and what he sees, we will never know. But in his intent gaze you feel alive, you feel loved. And you feel a probing search, as if he is looking for something that you have forgot or lost, and his role in life is to bring it back, or rekindle the flame within.

I've also been told that Peter sees angels. Or at least he used to at any rate. When he was two he would often ask, "Who's that?" and be looking up at an empty space. He is also known to stare off into space, deep in thought, for periods of time.

But the keenest indication of this man-boy's wisdom and age are "Peterisims!" The way he phrases things and the sayings he e
xpresses; amaze friend and stranger alike--sometimes just because of their bluntness.

Well I think that is enough background, or else there won't be any room for the story.

So where was I? Ah yes I remember now.

Once upon a time, I was heading home from school to my spiritual and emotional home, not my biological home. I arrived in the small town, and had decided to visit the used bookstores and the Christian bookstore, just to covet a little. While at the Christian bookstore I saw a card of angels watching over a child at sleep. I felt inclined to purchase it to give to the Murphys to put up in the boys' room.

I try to spend as much time as possible with the Murphys who are my closest friends. I love doing projects around the house with Michael, the father. And although
Bridget--the mother-- is much older then Pete or I, though we don't know how much older. I find myself able to unwind and vent and be fully transparent with this couple, this family. I can bounce ideas off them, share my hopes and fears and just be fully myself.

Now the Murphy children are really an unusual lot. Jacob, the oldest, is very shy and reserved and very very obedient. Peter you have already been introduced to. Kate-Lynn is my little princess and she has me just wrapped around her fingers, "Teve" was one of the first names she learned. But she will definitely break hearts, as she grows older. And then there is little Mason David who has come to the family after their adoption of me into their hearts an
d family. That is the cast of characters, except myself, whom some will say is the biggest man-child of them all, with emphasis on the child part! And of course the angels whom we do not have the privilege of knowing yet by name. Yet once again back to the story. I seem to have this bad habit of wandering off topic.

Yes, that's where I was. I had the Angel card and decided to show up at the Murphys early for dinner. Friday night is "Pizza Night" at the Murphy household. I went by early to see if I could give Bridget a hand with starting dinner. "Pizza Night" is the custom of having homemade pizza with chips and chicken wings for dinner and eating in the living room while watching a movie. This occurs most Friday nights in this home.
Since I arrived early, and Pete was home from work early, all 7 of us decided to go tobogganing. So we got the children all bundled up, and then we did the same. Michael and I put the old wooden toboggan, the GT snow-racer, the flying saucer and the plastic toboggan into the back of the pickup. The Murphys crowded into the cab of the truck. Oscar the dog and I into the back and off we went. We had a wonderful time at the hill. Mason, only being three months old, stayed in the truck with the heater running. We each took turns trying the different rides, alone and in various groups. Every few runs, one of the adults would go check on Mason. As the sun was setting and everybody was rosy of cheek, we decided to head for home, for pizza and hot drinks.

Being tired from the fun, we all turned in after the movie. The boys, Jake and Peter, to the top bunk, me in the bottom, and the rest in their usual spots. We were up early the next morning to a bright winter's day, with a light fresh dusting of snow. Breakfast of teddy-bear shaped pancakes, bacon juice and milk.

Bridget set to the housework after Pete had done the dishes. She decided all us children should be out from under foot--out of her hair and way. So Pete and I allowed ourselves to be persuaded by the boys to go back to the hill for more sledding. We would take the three older, Jake, Peter and Kate.

Now the boys always wanted the GT Snow-Racer, so they took turns for first pick. The other child would then chose between the plastic toboggan and the flying saucer. Then they would head down the hill. Katie was happy to just stand at the top and watch, or to run up and down the hill following her brothers. So Michael or I would take the last ride left and follow the children down and carry the GT back up. It was too heavy for the boys, and Oscar was not there with his harness to pull it up like the night before.

Things went fine for about an hour
or so. And then the accident occurred. Jake chose the GT, and he went down first. Peter had chosen the black plastic toboggan. Then he went down. As I was about to head down, on the flying saucer, to where Jake was to retrieve the GT, Peter had veered off radically and was now heading for a tree. Both Pete and I yelled for him to bail out. Then he hit the tree and the toboggan went over him. I got up, threw the saucer to Pete and told him to go. While Pete was about half way down, Peter tried to stand up, fell and screamed. I grabbed Katie and started to run down the hill. Before I reached the bottom, Pete had picked up Peter and was running for the truck. As I crossed the field I grabbed Jake and Pete and I Dashed for the truck with the three children.
On the way to the hospital Pete called Bridget to let her know what happened. I then called the hospital alerting them to injuries's and our position from the hospital.

I then focused on talking to Peter and to keeping him awake and conscious. He was complaining that he didn't want to go to the hospital. He kept saying he just wanted to go home to bed. He kept trying to brush the flowing blood off his face and out of his eyes.

I asked his if his girlfriend was cute. He said "No". So I asked why he was her boyfriend and he said she was kind of cute. We kept him talking all the way to the hospital.

On arrival, Pete took Peter in and I stayed in the tr
uck and told stories to Jake and Katie. A while after arriving Bridget comes out and asks if I can take the two home and get the cleaned up and fed lunch.

So I take her van home. But during the time in the
truck I called a friend, Jeff, I was suppose to meet that afternoon to tell him what happened, and to get his churches prayer chain going. I call my own church in town to get them praying. I also called my roommates at school to get the Christians on campus praying.
I was a nervous wreak, but I've found that if I clean or bake when I procrastinate or am stresses it helps. So after the two were fed and watching "Mary Poppins". I cleaned. I was puttering around doing this when Bridget called. Fortunately, Jeff whom I was suppose to meet had gone to the hospital to see if there was anything he could do. Bridget was about to move the truck from emergency to long-term parking but neither she nor Pete had money. So when Jeff said, "how can I help?" Bridget replied "Money?" She then sent Jeff back to the hill to get the sleds, which we had left, where they lay. She also asked if he could find Peters' boots, as both were missing. Then he came a round to the house. He told me there was a fracture from forehead to base of the skull. But the Doctors were as of yet unsure of bleeding or pressure on the brain. While Jeff was at the hospital he got in for a minute to see Pete and Peter. Michael was trying to keep Peter awake and kept asking, "Are you awake Peter?" "Open your eyes." "Don't go to sleep Peter." Then after the third or fourth "Are you awake?" Peter replied "No, now go away." Which is a perfect "Peterism", and Peter, true to form.

When Bridget next called she said they were transferring him to a hospital about an hour and a half away. Could I stay till the grand parents arrived to look after Jake and Katie? Which was the least I could do.

Bridget went with Peter in the ambulance. Pete came home with Mason to shower and get cleaned up. He then drove up to the new hospital. When the grandparents arrived, Jeff and I left.

Now the miracles, which grew and happened, in this case are many and varied. I probably don't even know of most of them. But those I do know of assure me that there is something very special about Peter, and also the power of prayer.

With such a severe head injury, Peter never lost consciousness or lucidity. There were also never any complications, no bleeding on the brain, no pressure on the brain, no effect to eyesight or hearing. The angels that must of been working with and in the Doctors, saw to this.

When people around the world heard about it they responded. A fur company from up north sent a foxtail for him to attach to the helmet he had to wear for protection during recovery. Originally Peter was not supposed to be active or play outdoors for at least 6 months. Yet within 3 months all restrictions were removed. Which with how rambunctious Peter is, is a Miracle for it wou
ld of been impossible to keep him down in the summer. Each child in grade one class in the US that heard about the accident through a prayer chain on the Internet. They each drew him a picture wrote him a letter and bound them into a book and mailed them to him.

People from all over the world sent him postcards to give him something to do while he recuperated. Peter was sent cards to encourage challenge, stimulate his mind and just for fun.

And those are but a few of the miracles surrounding Peter's recovery. Peter had all restrictions lifted after 3 months. Now Peter runs climbs and plays as hard as ever. While he has perhaps forgotten how close he came to death, those close to him will always remember.

The Angles guarded Peter at the Hill, till Michael got to him. They protected us all and guided traffic flow, as we sped to the hospital. There were angels ministering to all of us involved. Through the people suppor
ting us, and through the spiritual realm.

And they all lived happily ever after or at least until the dog incident, but that is another story.


I tried to do a number of things in this story. First was to make it a first person narrative, where the narrator is my voice. I also tried to keep it fun and light and playful, even though it is a serious story
. It is often a story that deals with a severe injury of a child, possibly the death.

I modelled the narration after that in J.M. Barrie in Michael Pan, yet without the darker side or edge.

I also wanted to tell a tale of a serious accident and the scare of seeing a child greatly hurt. While telling of the fun and play that
is in this family and myself.

I tend to wander a bit too much in the story, but overall I believe that it flows well. The father in the store heard the first draft, and couldn't think of anything to add or subtract.

I also wanted to tell this tale, because of my belief in angels and the power of prayer. Especially divine intervention in this incident. I believe that Peter is a very unique child and will one day be a great Prophet!

In telling this tale I wanted to bring honour to my friends the Murphys, as a small tolken of my appreciation of them and all th
ey have done and do for me.

(Written for ENGL 208C Children's Literature Spring 1999 based upon a true story with Name's changed.)

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