It was around eight years ago, when I met her, that I first noticed it...
that there was something missing in my life
In her early forties, confined to a wheelchair, totally dependent on her parents to take care of her--
she told me the story of how it started...
walking home from school with her sister one day, she kept dropping her books. She knew something was very wrong--turned out it was Multiple Sclerosis.
She struggled through high school, even went to a top college and was accepted to law school, but instead became a teacher and later, joined the Peace Corps.
Over time the disease weakened and attacked all of her muscles--finally leaving her unable to walk or even use her arms.
But it wasn't her history that first struck me...
there was something about her...
how she would say things like...
"my mother made the best breakfast this morning, Teri. I so appreciate her"
"aren't the snowflakes beautiful--I love to sit and stare at them on the windows"
"I'm having such a great day--I received a card from a class of 3rd graders at the school where I used to teach"
All kinds of things were running through my mind...
Is she for real??
Ok, no one can be that cheerful all the time. I mean look at her situation-- she can't even change her own pants or brush her teeth without help. I better check the list she is probably on those "happy" pills.
But every time I saw her it was the same thing
She carried something inside that I couldn't quite pinpoint...
all of the above??
I began to look forward to our visits. Occasionally I would notice a bible on the night stand or she would be watching a spiritual program when I came in...
Oh no, I hope she's not going to try to talk me into something...
You know those people can get carried away with that religious stuff...
Some of them are really fanatics...
But she never did... she never said anything about it
it was how she lived that began to affect me
and at that time, a very dark period in my life, being in her presence felt like a soothing balm to my soul.
One day I went to see her and she wasn't her usual upbeat self--
Aha! So I was right-- it was just an act! Or does she finally just realize how the world really is?
But no, turns out she had a little infection, went to the hospital for a few days, and came back home her normal, joyful self. In a way, I was secretly relieved.
She definitely had something I wanted..
but what was it...
and how could I get it?...
I thought about it for quite a while...
Hmm...maybe there was something to that prayer thing she was always doing. Oh, I am a believer and practice pretty much by what the rules say to do
But she seems to want to do it. I have always seen it more like a duty or obligation
It's almost like the prayer is filling something inside of her
I guess it wouldn't hurt to try
I started to reach out and pray, I mean really pray, as if I was praying to someone not just reciting words...
Slowly I could feel my heart
there was someone out there listening to my prayers
I could feel it
His presence became crystal clear
and after time
so close I can almost touch it
I never saw her again after those few months
but I think of her often
I think of how
that I was supposed to help her recover
supposed to be there to heal her
in the end
it was she
helped heal me