It seems that ever since my decision to truly walk this path, I keep running up against people who are really lost. It’s like they are drawn to me like a moth to the flame.
I discovered last week that an old acquaintance of mine, in America has Leukemia. Last night I discovered it was Terminal.
We met over the internet, mostly playing an online RPG.
I asked her, as one does, how she was coping. She told me she wasn’t, and I asked her what precisely was getting to her.
She said: “Because I don’t know Why. Am I really such a bad person? I got out of an abusive relationship less than a year ago, and I’ve started putting my life back together, and now this. What did I do that was so wrong? Why does He hate me so much?”.
I have to confess I wasn’t ready for this. I knew that at some piont I’d have this conversation with her, but I figured I’d have at least had time to gather my thoughts, perhaps have a word with my Vicar, get some advice. But there it was. I felt she needed a bit of help, a bit of support. I’m too far away, so there’s really onely one tool I have.
I told her that I had recently decided to join the Church, and so she really was talking to the right person. The only thing I could do was sympathise, and tell her that occasionally God takes those more deseriving. Then an odd idea struck me. There are many stories out there about terminal patients who light up the lives of those around them, and leave their stories as a comfort to thousands. I thought I’d start there.
I told her about a documentary I once saw, I belive it was entitled “the boy who’s skin fell off”. It was a documentary written and narreted by the boy himself. I think he was 10, but he was very eloquent, so perhaps he was a little older. he told of the joy that life had brought him, and how he’d endevoured to just enjoy the days as much as he could, because he didn’t have many of them, and he didn’t want to spend the time arguing with those that were dear to him, and nither, he presumes, did they. I pointed to this boy’s strength as an example of the miracles that my friend would see. Friends helping, people just being people around her. God doing his amazing thing and genrally surprising you. I told her she was most likely to see more of these miracles, as preparation for entering the Kingdom of Heaven.
I was begning to feel like a fundamentalist. Ringing the Bible Bashing Bell. I have to admit I was sinking fast, and most definately without any sort of boyancy aid. I needed help. The most difficult thing to do is to know when you are over your head. I asked Meg what she thought. As usual, she had the answer “there’s not enough of you in it”. Then it came to me. Jenni. My friend from university who had died. She had a heart condition and a lung condition which (as far as I remember) required a transplant, or she was not going to make it. I recall at the time that we bearly knew she was ill.
I told my friend all about Jenni. More particularly about her funeral. How we, as her friends, had managed to make her last moments on earth (from what we could see, in her own words, letters and what she had told friends and family), an amazing time. All we did was a few simple things. A simple birthday party, simple concern.
I told her that the Mysterious Ways that people had been quoting at her, as people often do when they have nothign to say to a terminal patient were simply these things. Here I was, the right person, at the right time, talking ot her, helping her, having had the strenth to thelp from a friend of mine that I had lost. I told her if she enjoyed the life that was still with her, then she would see God’s hand helping her, the way it had helped Jenni. I told her that God would be with her.
She had logged off before I finished. I don’t know if she got it all, or why she logged off. Perhaps I went too far.
I hope it helped.
For the record, Jenni didn’t belive in anything. She was buried with a humanist ceremony.
She, infact, was the first person I ever truly prayed for. I prayed that God would watch her soul.