I met Reuben one sunny morning in New York. I was driving home from JFK airport after a 3 day round trip New York to San Francisco. This should have been a routine drive home to Flushing. As a flight attendant for TWA, this had been a routine flight also. Except… instead of going to the hotel, having dinner with the crew, I joined another attendant who had just transferred from SFO to JFK. She wanted me to meet her friends and go out on the town. We spent time with her two best buddies and went to a pub to eat and drink, then back to their apartment to laugh and talk and share stories. It was great fun. Since we all had to be to work the next day, we, girls, shared a bedroom while one of them slept on the couch. Four a.m. came quickly. Our flight was full to JFK and we made it through by routine and sheer will power.
By the time we landed, checked out, and reached the employee parking lot, I was exhausted. The trip, late night, lack of sleep and time change was catching up with me. But, I had to get home before I could sleep. And, home was a twenty to thirty minute trip up the Van Wyck to Flushing. Heading out on to the expressway, I started having a mental discussion with myself. I could do this. I could make it home. It was not that far to go. My eyes were itching and burning. My head started to nod. I was fighting to keep my eyes open. An inner voice was saying, “it’s alright just close your eyes for a minute.” That is when the light went out, literally. Just as though someone turned off the light switch, I was a sleep behind the wheel.
Seconds later, a voice from my passenger seat yelled, “Candie, Watch Out!” I slammed on my breaks and woke up at the same time! I was coming up on the back of a taxi doing fifty miles an hour. With jolt of fear and adrenaline, I was wide awake. Once I caught my breath, I turned to the passenger seat to see who had yelled at me. And, I knew no one was there. The jolt of adrenaline was enough to get me back to my duplex safely.
This may sound astounding but what really was more astounding was the fact that some months before, I stood in my bathroom, looked into the mirror and said, “Listen, God, I am tired of this I have sinned and I am going to sin again bit. You go your way and I will go mine.” I walked away from God. And, lost myself in the pursuit “love”. By the end of a year, I was empty, dry, aching and lost in darkness and depression. No one had filled that gaping need in my heart and soul to be loved. In utter desperation, I cried out, “God! Where are you!” The answer came fast and furiously! Within a year I was living is a non-denominational Christian youth center in Lexington Kentucky.
It was during this time at the Center that I learned that we could ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the name of our guardian angels. So, taking that on faith, I asked the Holy Spirit to reveal my angel’s name. Reuben’s name popped into my mind immediately. Now I had a name to go with the voice that yelled at me to “wake up” when I had fallen asleep in behind the wheel the year before.
Meanwhile, back at the Center, I had gone from visitor to staff member and as such was sharing in the work schedules and befriending the residents. While teaching a bible study, I had an ex-con who was living at the center as part of his probation, threaten me. The young man was coming up the basement steps from smoking outside. He saw me as I was going to my room. Earlier, in my Bible study, he and I had clashed over class behavior. He didn’t like taking “orders” from women. So, with the opportunity of having me alone, he snarled, “The first chance I get I am going to smash your face in!” At which point I took in a deep breath, leaned over the stair railing, stared into his eyes and stated emphatically, with all the authority in my soul, “You lay one hand of me and the Holy Spirit will tear you apart!” The man looked up at me in shock, his mouth fell open, his eyes got big, he turned pale and ran back down into the basement. I turned around walked into my bedroom, with my knees shaking, sat down on my bed and said, “O.K. Just what were “We” going to do!” I have always wondered if the guy got a glimpse of Reuben standing behind me with his mighty sword!
This is only the beginning of my life with Rueben. Continuing our journey together is going to take some time. So, I am going to do our journey in segments. Let’s count this one as Part One: The Introduction.