The darkness of her situation intensifies with each beep of the monitor, as though building up to the only logical and deserving consequence of her actions. To have died is so much easier and better all-round. No more heartache, no more despair, and no more waiting for her inevitable demise. How else could such a wretched life unfold??
That is how she sees herself – wretched and undeserving of anything good.
She dares not open her eyes for fear of realising she’s still alive – still stuck on that sorry place called earth. But the longer she resists opening her eyes the more it dawns on her that she is in-fact still very much alive. The tear drop that careers its’ way down her right cheek is confirmation she’s failed again. This was the second time she had attempted to take her own life, and again she had failed. A failure in life, and now a failure in death.
‘I can’t even die right,’ she thinks to herself as the reality of her failed suicide attempt is fully realised. She opens her eyes – same hospital, same prognosis.
‘’Good afternoon young lady,’’ says a middle aged man in a dark grey suit as he enters the room. He’s accompanied by a young lady and another gentleman, who, although walking closely behind the young lady, doesn’t seem to be actually with them. Indeed none of them are aware of his presence.
The middle aged man and the young lady position themselves to her left and begin to prod her with questions.
“Are you a Christian? Are you Born Again?” asks the middle aged man.
She knows the answer to his question but can’t bring herself to say it. After-all what kind of Christian allows alcoholism to destroy her life?? What kind of Christian attempts to take her own life?
“You see the reason you’re in this situation is because you haven’t been walking closely with God. You have back-slid into alcohol and other things that the good Lord arbores. You cannot be a child of God if you continue like this. Otherwise nothing but destruction and hell await you.”
Whilst grateful to the middle aged man, whom she now assumes is a pastor, for taking the time to minister to her, anger and resentment begins to well-up inside. The more the pastor preaches to her the more she feels inadequate, condemned, undeserving of anything good, and unable to carry on; as though each sentence further consigns her to despair, fear, and utter hopelessness.
The other gentleman, who is now standing directly in front of her at the foot of the bed, looks on at the pastor with a gleeful smile; almost as if he’s proud of the pastor’s ability to make her feel more desperate and useless than ever before.
A portly older looking man with spectacles walks in. His overalls and the bucket and mop he’s carrying suggest he’s one of the cleaners. He begins to mop the floor, as the pastor continues preaching.
“The only way you can be healed is for you to repent of your sins. Your disobedience is the route-cause of your struggles. You must repent and turn to God. Otherwise you’ll end up in hell; it’s as simple as that,” says the pastor, much to the pleasure and satisfaction of the man with the gleeful smile at the end of her bed.
“Er…excuse me, so sorry to disturb you sir,”
“Yes, how can I help you?” replies the pastor.
“I wonder if you might give me fifteen minutes or so. You see I need to mop this floor before the next doctors’ round, which is in about twenty minutes. I’m ever so sorry sir,” says the cleaner.
“Er..oh…okay…well, young lady, I think you get my drift don’t you?! You must turn back to God. Only by obeying his will can you be free from your addiction. Understand? Good. I shall be praying for you. All is well.”
“Thank you sir, I’m very grateful,” says the very grateful cleaner.
The pastor leaves, with his assistant in tow – reluctantly followed by the man at the end of the bed, who is no longer smiling but now looks positively peeved.
“Good heavens! I thought he’d never stop. Don’t know about you young lady but that chap made me feel absolutely awful,” says the cleaner, relieved to see the back of the pastor and his assistant.
He continues mopping the floor for a few minutes, then slowly walks to her right hand side, sits on the edge of her bed, takes her hand, and gazes at her with a smile of a love that knows no bounds.
Although she has no idea who this man is she feels positively Calm, Secure, and at Peace.
“You can never be wretched in my eyes,” he says in a calm, loving, but authoritative voice. ‘’You’re my daughter, and I will always love you – no matter what.”
“But…but…how? How can you possibly love me? Look at me! I’m a total failure. I just keep messing up over and over again,” she says, now beginning to sob more openly.
“The reason you think that is because you don’t know me,” he replies. “And I don’t mean my commandments or what you think I expect from you. I mean my heart. If only you knew how much I love you! Come, give me your other hand. I want to show you something,” he says.
She raises her left hand and places it in the man’s right hand.
“Now close your eyes.”
As soon as she does so, she sees a beautiful lady standing by a roaring sea. The lady looks like her. Can it really be? But something isn’t right. She desperately wants to cross over to the other side but is too scared to do so. She can see what the other side looks like – palm trees, beautiful flowing streams, peace, and so much joy. But she’s too scared to cross over on her own. So convinced is she that the violent waves will overpower her she dares not even try.
All of a sudden she feels herself being lifted up and then carried like a baby. She looks down to see the violent waves beneath her. She’s no longer scared. She knows she’s in good hands. When they get to the other side the man carrying her puts her down, and together they continue to walk on. All she feels now is Joy, Peace, and a Love like no other – all-encompassing and so Unconditional.
“You can open your eyes now,” says the man, now adorned in a glory and splendor that can only be that of the Most High.
“That is how I see you. You’re beautiful in my eyes. I’ve always loved you, and I always will. I know you’re scared of the future because of where you are now, but there’s no reason to be. You’re going to be just fine. I will carry you. I’ll be with you every step of the way.”
She’s no longer feeling despondent. Rather, she’s filled with a joy, peace, and security that can only come from the sure knowledge of God’s Unconditional and Unfailing Love.