By Jessica Connor
There we were—my mom, sister, hospital chaplain and I—gathered in a loose circle around my grandmother’s hospital bed. Gram is elderly and already struggles with Alzheimer’s and respiratory issues, but she’d just been dealt a double whammy: a stroke and congestive heart failure.
My mom was distraught, my sister and I stuck in that half world, torn between obligation to job/kids and fervent need to be with our beloved matriarch. Gram herself bore the brunt of it all, alternately shaking and shivering, coughing and choking, intermingled with confusion, frustration and an occasional I just want to go home. But she couldn t.
And so we stood there, three generations of women and a stranger-pastor, joined together in prayer. As we closed our eyes and gave ourselves over to the Holy Spirit, our hands linked slightly, our arms brushing and our fingers clasping.
Then it happened ”that special moment when He s suddenly unmistakably, tangibly there. Right there with us, within the circle of prayer, letting us know He s with us, He loves us and He will never, ever forsake us.
It s a holy moment when Jesus comes in our midst, when time stands still and in an instant everything important is suddenly crystallized. We all have different reactions ”some people hear bells or chimes. For me, it s a distinctive warmth, followed sometimes by a sweet, sweet perfume that smells like earth, flowers, water and everything pure and right all wrapped into one.
As the prayer wrapped to a close, I opened my eyes to see the most beautiful expression of peace and comfort wash over my Gram s face. Pure, unadulterated joy and utter transforming relief now replaced the mask of fright and confusion that had been there just moments ago. Until Jesus stepped in and fixed it all.
He does that ”fixes everything. Does it time and again, when we ask and sometimes when we don t; He knows our heart s desires and He walks with us.
As we go to press on the Advocate, my Gram is still in the hospital. Her body won t get much better, but she s preparing to enter long-term care and holding strong for now. Time marches on. And no matter what happens, we have Jesus, and so does she. He s there on this side of life, and He s there to escort us to the Kingdom beyond.
What sweeter comfort is there?