The year was 1979. I was nessled in a chair in the late night or early morning hours. What time it is, I can’t be sure. Time had all run together at this point, as I sat up on my watch, to keep an eye on my Mother, as she lay dying in her hospital bed.
This was the home I had been raised in and everything about it was familiar to me even though I had moved away many years prior.
It was quiet and hours passed slowly as I sat listening for anything from my mother that would require attention. She was no longer wrestling with pain that she had experienced for years prior to this night. She had talked with her eyes more than her mouth the last several days. She was tired of the fight.
On her last of many trips to the hospital she had requested not to be taken back again. She wanted to be home and we wanted to honor her wishes. Cancer had already caused her enough pain and grief over the last five years. Everything that doctors knew to do, they had done, and so we waited.
Only one person was in the room that night besides mother and myself, my Aunt Joy. She had flown in to be with mother during her last days. This was daddy’s sister but my mother loved her. We seldom saw her because she lived 2000 miles away and had a family to care for. She was younger than mother but older than myself. I really had not had much opportunity to be around her, but do remember that her manner was pleasant and admiral on all occasions.
Tonight was no different as we sat quietly in the darkened room with only a single table lamp for light. She sat a few feet away with a bible opened on her lap. Pages had only turned a few times in what seemed hours and silence was all I heard.
I remember glancing over at her from time to time wondering why it took her so long to read what was written on its pages. I had never read a bible and don’t recall being around anyone who did. We had only one in the house. It was large and mom would write in the front of it to record family things, but we were not allowed to touch it. It was the family bible, that is all I knew.
I went to church a few times when I was child with my cousins and they all carried a bible to church, but I don’t remember them reading theirs except on Sundays. It was a curious thing to see someone reading whatever was written within its pages.
I finally broke the silence and asked in a quiet and respectful tone, “What are you reading about?” She cast her pretty caring eyes toward me and hesitated before she spoke. Then with a smile she replied, “Well honey I’m reading about Jesus.”
The following minutes and conversation was so brief, but had so much impact on my life that I have thought back on it numberous times since that night. Few words were spoken, yet those that were, changed my life.
I answered her statement with, “Oh I see”, and then it was a few moments before the silence broke again.
I was 26 years old and I now know that before she spoke the next words, she hesitated to pray. She spoke to me as if I were a child. The language was more of the type one would use with a child. In her quiet country voice she said….
Joy: “Do you believe in Jesus?”
Linda: “Well I guess I do.”
Joy: “Do you believe he was God’s Son and died on the cross?”
Linda: “Well I suppose so.”
Joy: “Do you believe he rose from the grave and is alive today in heaven?”
Linda: “Well, I don’t know, I guess so.”
Joy: ” Do you know that you are a sinner?”
Linda: “I guess so.”
Joy: ” Well honey if you believe these things and ask him to forgive you of your sin, then you’re saved.”
Conversation was over. She went back to reading and we spoke very little after that until morning. I know now that she was praying more than reading. She left me with my thoughts and sat silent. I remember thinking, “Huh, that just seems too simple, I don’t get it!”
Would you believe that this was the first time in my 26 years that I could remember anyone telling me these things. In language that any child could understand she caused me to understand, that truly, I did not understand.
The simple words spoken that night planted the seed that changed my life.
Ms Linda Darlene