For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in your ways (Psalm 91:11).

In honor of Veterans Day and to honor my late father-in-law who served in the U.S. Navy–who always LOVED to hear and tell a good story–I’m choosing to share one he appreciated. Two stories, in fact. Both took place in Chicago’s Union Station.

This came to mind as I pondered the men and women who’ve sacrificed so much to serve and protect our nation, as well as others from around the globe. Each of our service men and women past and present embodies the term “earth angel,” and many who love or have loved someone who has served, or who perhaps still serves, pray often for their protection–that angels would surround and keep them each and every day.

So, Dad Denny–this story’s for you. I hope it brings you another smile! Thank you for being an earth angel during your years with us.


Two times in my life I’ve experienced what I can only call an angelic intervention—once in 1981 and the other in 1987. Both took place in Chicago’s Union Station.

The first was when I was almost twelve, when my family took a cross-country trip from our small rural town in Ohio to California via Amtrak train.

While on a brief layover in Chicago’s Union Station, a restroom break was in order. My grandparents, parents, and younger sister were seated in chairs not far from the ladies’ room, and I assured my mom and dad that, at nearly a dozen years, I could certainly go by myself.

Katie (8), Mom Mary, and me (11) in Union Station en route to California via Amtrak.

Exiting a few minutes later, a stranger in uniform stepped up to me and remarked, quite matter-of-factly, “Your family’s over there,” pointing in the direction opposite where I’d left them. I thanked him, then made my way to my family who’d moved from their seats to read the electronic train schedule mounted on an adjacent wall.

Approaching the group, my mom happened to turn around. “Why’d you move?” I whined, worry etched in lines across my forehead. “How did you think I’d find you?”

“We were watching for you, dear,” she replied. “Sorry you were frightened.” Then, considering the situation further, she added, “But how did you know where to find us?”

Pivoting, I pointed in the direction of the bathroom. “Him,” but the serviceman to whom I was referring was no longer there. “A man directed me to you. Had you asked him to?”

“No,” Mama replied, her face registering confusion. “No, we didn’t.”

The second experience took place in 1987 when a high-school friend and I visited Chicago for a day at Christmastime. We’d arrived at the Amtrak station in the small town of Lima, Ohio very early that morning and arrived in the Windy City before nine, having gained an hour’s time.

Bestie Lisa in Chicago at Christmas, 1987.

We spent the day shopping and enjoying the decorations of Chicago’s Marshall Fields’ display windows, which were all adorned with wintery scenes for the holidays. We’d eaten deep-dish Chicago-style pizza and taken a horse-drawn carriage ride. The hours passed quickly, and before we knew it, it was time to return to Union Station.

Having arrived with what we thought was plenty of moments to spare, we sat back leisurely to watch the hustle and bustle of others while thumbing through magazines.

Suddenly, I heard my name spoken by a man over the loud speaker. “Maureen Miller, please come to the information desk. Maureen Miller, please come to the information desk.”

My friend Lisa looked quizzically at me. “What do you think that’s about?” she inquired.

Shrugging, “I have absolutely no idea, but I’ll go check. Can you keep an eye on my things?”

I made my way to the information counter. A friendly woman stood behind it. “May I help you?” she asked, peering at me over her glasses.

“Um, yes, ma’am. I heard a man call my name over the intercom instructing me to come to the information desk. I’m Maureen Miller. Perhaps you have a message for me.”

The woman looked down at some papers in a pile before her and shuffled them. Then, turning to the woman beside her, she asked, “Do you know anything about a message for a ‘Maureen Miller’?” She nodded in my direction.

“No. I don’t have anything,” the other employee replied. “In fact, I never heard that name called.” She, too, appeared confused.

“I … I heard my name. My companion did also.” Shaking my head, “That’s so weird.” I paused a moment. “Well, while I’m here, could you please confirm for me the time of departure for the train returning to Lima, Ohio?”

The first woman glanced once more at her pile of papers, then punched several keys on the computer keyboard. Looking up, her eyes fixed with mine, an odd expression on her face. Disbelieving, her gaze shifted again, and only her lips moved as she silently read the information on her screen.

Original Amtrak ticket from Lima, OH to Chicago’s Union Station.

Shaking her head, “Um, your train’s about to pull out of the station. I’m … I’m not even sure you’ll be able to make it, but if you run—”

I didn’t wait for her to finish but raced back to my friend. “Hurry! Get your things,” I panted. “I don’t know what all that was about, but our train’s pulling out.”

Grabbing our belongings, we ran, jumping aboard just in the nick of time.

Finally seated, I breathlessly asked, “How ever did we get that so wrong? We’d both checked our tickets and everything, confirmed our departure. How could we have been so confused?”

Lisa shook her head. “I have no idea, but I’m thankful that they called your name to give you …” She paused. “What message did they give you? I forgot to ask.”

Staring at her, “There was no message. They had no idea what I was talking about. Said my name wasn’t even called. But had that not have happened …”

And we both knew. We’d have missed our train—two small-town country girls left behind in the big city of Chicago with not even enough money for another cab, let alone a hotel room.

A shiver ran down my spine, and I heard a still, small voice as the clack-clack-clickety-clack of the train began to calm my confusion.

For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in your ways (Psalm 91:11).

And as I drifted to sleep, the train rolling down the tracks toward a rural Ohio town, I was at peace knowing God’s messengers had been near–one in body and the other, a voice–not once, but two times, in Chicago’s Union Station.

Yes, directing all my ways.

Have you ever experienced what you consider to be an angelic intervention or interaction?  I would love to hear about it. Perhaps you’d consider sharing your story in the “Comments” section, or maybe you’d simply love to thank an earth angel–a veteran, a soldier, or a first responder–personally. By commenting, your name will be entered into a raffle, with one winner to be drawn on Monday–11/16/20. The prize? An autographed copy of my dear friend Lucinda Secrest McDowell’s book Soul Strong. 

Love, blessings, and hospitality–yes, perhaps to Angels Unawares!

Dear Jesus, today we remember and give thanks for all those who’ve risked so much to serve and protect. Please set Your angels around and about them to keep them safe. Help them not only be strong in body and sound in mind, but help them to also be Soul Strong!