By Danielle Haynes
The Tonawanda News
KENMORE — Kenmore resident Peter Green comes from a family of storytellers.
His mother, he said, was a war bride from England, who told him stories of British World War II pilots being guided to safety during conflict by unidentified bright lights. His daughter, Maddie, 10, recently took over editing and writing duties for a group homeschooling newsletter.
Writing’s in the native Canadian’s blood, as evidenced by a series of three stories published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, the most recent of which, “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels Among Us,” published Jan. 1.
Peter’s story, “Angel at the Wheel,” tells of an incident in 1998 in which his life was in very grave danger, and he believes it was an angel who saved him.
During a several-hours-long drive home from a DJ gig, Peter said he began to feel a bit sleepy. Feeling superhero-like, though, he pressed on. It wasn’t until he realized he was stopped along the center shoulder of the highway that he realized he had fallen asleep at the wheel.
“It was one of the most harrowing experiences of my life,” he said. “To this day I cannot forget the image of getting out of my van, looking behind me and seeing the fresh tracks of the van in the center of the highway medium,” which had a steep decline that he assumed would have caused his van to topple.
“Something was keeping me from overturning,” he said.
That something was an angel.
“The fact is I didn’t see a winged figure so I couldn’t say that was an angel in front of me, but I was aware of the angel’s presence,” Peter said. “So I thought that merited sharing the story because I think the experience of seeing angels is very different for different people.”
The biggest thing he’d like readers to take away from the story is that angels don’t always appear as the typical winged, human-like figure with a halo. Sometimes it’s just a light, sometimes it’s just the feeling of a presence. And, Peter said, he believes it can reach across all faiths.
“I hope people are aware that angels are around them. The presence of God or faith is around them at all times, (so don’t) simply look for one thing people tell you is an angel,” he said.
“I think anybody that acknowledges a higher power also acknowledges that God works in mysterious ways. No matter how you embrace a god in your life there are intercessors, there are functionaries, there are elements of that god that do things in our lives,” he added. “I think angels can appeal to anyone of faith, and even people without faith, maybe they believe it’s after-life spirits.”
Peter’s wife of 10 years, Danielle, said when she heard about this experience she was glad to know he’s a little more careful these days. The incident happened before the two met, but Danielle said she was not surprised to hear about his spiritual encounter.
“We met through Christian groups and we both have a pretty stronge sense of faith,” she said. “There are definitely things helping us out there, call them angels or call them your conscience, I suppose, but it’s a good feeling to know that not only could angels be out there looking out for you, but we’re aware of them. It makes a difference to know you’re not alone out there.”
“Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels Among Us” is available for purchase at www.chickensoup.com. Peter’s other Chicken Soup stories are included in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings,” published in 2009; and “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hooked on Hockey,” published in October 2011.
Peter and Danielle run a Niagara region tourism company called Encounter Niagara, more information on which can be found at www.encounterniagara.com.
Contact features editor Danielle Haynes at 693-1000, ext. 4116.