Comfort at the Door of Death

Categories: Blog

I must say, that it has been awhile since I posted. A truckload of writing and creative necessities overwhelmed me with the starting of the Edinburgh project. I still do not have a clear path, but I am working on it. I do intend to continue with my series on the perfected marriage. However, with a request at my door to write the story of ‘comfort’ in my life, I am diverting from that goal a little here to tell this story. I hope it will bring a hope and warmth to your hearts.

In April, 1971 I lay on the bed in my room staring vacantly at an overhead light bulb which was diminishing in size. I had been repeating this experience for several nights with an ever-increasing sense of fatality and hopelessness. It had begun with a lethal, breath-sucking depression which swooped into my mind, soul and body after I had driven myself to the hospital where they performed a D&C to remove the dead 6 month fetus of my child, and then driven myself home again the next day. I had been convulsed in sobs as I walked down the stairs of the Catholic hospital, when a small priest came up the stairs and saw my despair. He asked if he could do anything for me. I replied; I don’t think so, they just stole my baby. He looked at me through very thick lenses with big compassionate eyes and said; The Lord gives and the Lord takes; blessed be the name of the Lord.

I was not a believer at that time and had spent 12 years running from God in search of some sophisticated, esoteric and elite enlightenment. I was so sophisticated that I had married a man who repulsed me and for whom I had no love what-so-ever. We were both students of the occult. Therefore, I could not process this priest’s response to me. Nor, could I dismiss it as a stupid platitude which was more akin to salt in a wound than a comfort. Because, one thing pigeon-holed in my mind and drove me relentlessly to question his statement. That one thing was the fact that the priest believed this with all his heart-I could see this, even through those thick lenses. I then asked and asked and asked of myself; is there a God to whom you could say ‘the Lord takes, blessed be His name’? If there was, I wanted to know this God.

The days following this incident were mired in a life-threatening shut down of my body and soul. Each time I lay on the bed, the overhead light became smaller and smaller-irising out the light in the room. I knew that one night it would go completely out and I would live no more. On this last night, the light had slowly irised out till it was only a pin prick – like a distant star. I held my breath and listened to my heart and waited for death. At that moment, the phone rang by the bed. I don’t know why I picked it up – very illogical for person who was preparing to die. However, I did. My sister was calling me from three states away. She said; I don’t know what I can say to you Kathleen, except that the Holy Spirit is a comforter. I heard nothing else. I was in such pain and loneliness and dark despair that the only word that mattered was ‘comfort’. I finished the short conversation and went looking for a Bible. I managed to find one and began reading it. I have no idea where I read or what. But, this was clear. As I read, the black oppression lifted from my soul and I could breathe again and think again. I felt a huge warm presence wrap around me like a feather comforter and insulate me from the reality of my pain.

I read this Bible non-stop for two weeks. I was never without this Bible. I read any 30 seconds of free time I had anywhere. It was like taking a drug. Whenever I read, this suffocating depression would lift off my heart and mind, and breath would come into me. The warm presence was always there. After two weeks, I was so hungry to know if this God, to whom the priest had said ‘blessed be His name’, was real. I knelt down on the bare wooden floor in the absolute darkness of my room alone and prayed; If you are really there God, I want to know you know my name.

I have no idea how long it was (3 minutes or 3 hours) that I sat absolutely still listening. Then it came, the undeniable voice in my spirit which I will never forget: “Kathleen, I love you”. I believed and He took me as His own. I have never been without His comfort since. Thank you, my Lord.