A gift to cherish….
Ann lived a short distance from our house.
She and her husband moved to the neighborhood
from the southern part of the state
where she had worked in a factory and he had been employed
as a heavy equipment operator.
Now retired, they spent their time caring for their home.
They had no children and were deeply devoted to each other.
Plain looking and soft spoken,
Ann had the proverbial heart of gold.
Her graying hair was not stylishly fixed
in the fashion of the day.
Each year she raised a beautiful circular flower garden
with a birdbath in the center
surrounded by colorful flowers.
The garden prospered under Ann’s tender care.
Ann and her husband were always nearby, lending a helping hand
when one was needed.
Appearing on a summer’s evening to visit for a time,
there was always encouragement for us in planning our young lives,
with an offer to help in any way they could.
Ann unwittingly helped me to acquire a taste for sauerkraut.
I could never abide the bitter taste no matter how I tried.
One day, I stopped by her house.
The wonderful aroma in her kitchen caused me to inquire
about what she was cooking.
Her answer was sauerkraut.
I shared with her my utter dislike for it.
Ann suggested I should add brown sugar
and a couple of quartered apples to the sauerkraut as it cooked.
What a difference that combination made.
Perhaps there’s a lesson here.
It may be the LACK of seasoning that causes bitterness
But the ADDITION of something sweet
changes bitterness to joy
and gives us a new appetite for life.
One day I was told Ann was in the hospital for stomach surgery.
The results were not good.
She had cancer and nothing could be done.
Ann came home to spend her remaining days
in her own bed in her own home,
surrounded by things and people she loved.
By this time, Ann was in her late sixties.
Life for me, at that time,
had been completely turned around
by the joy and knowledge of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible was exciting.
Scripture was leaping off the pages of the Bible, to me,
as it had never done before.
I prayed incessantly for Ann’s healing.
I had faith and prayed for more faith
and more understanding
for the complete healing of Ann’s body.
Time passed and healing was not evident.
I searched scripture for more information.
There were many passages for guidance.
1Thess.5: 27 “pray without ceasing”.
The disciples asked Jesus
why they had not had a healing for someone
by praying for them.
Jesus responded; Matthew 17:21
“this kind does not go out
except by prayer and fasting.”
Further (in Mark) it is noted He said to them.,
“This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting”.
For the first and only time in my life, I fasted.
I prayed without ceasing for 24 hours.
The fasting directed my complete attention to the prayer,
and to the Spirit of God.
I was confident that Ann would be healed.
She was not.
A few weeks later, Ann died.
I questioned God, my faith, and myself.
Ann was a devout Catholic.
Her funeral was held in the local Catholic Church.
Our family sat in the back of the church
quietly observing the unfamiliar funeral rituals.
I was sad for the loss of my friend, Ann.
The words of the service fell on closed ears and a heavy heart.
Suddenly I was amazed.
I felt a great feeling of joy welling up within me.
I was overwhelmed with the knowledge being given to me.
Ann was healed.
She was in heaven.
The promises of God were fulfilled.
“I go to prepare a place for you. Where I am you will be also.”
Ann was healed and she was in heaven!
The Holy Spirit was giving to me the knowledge of her healing.
I received the confirmation of her new life
as a gift.
It is a gift I will remember and cherish all the days of my life.
A Gift To Be Shared
One treasures the people in life who made a difference
in the way we lived then and now.
I would not have identified Ann as such an important person,
until my experience at the time of her death.
I now believe that God called me to Ann’s friendship
so He could show me
It’s hard to explain my experience the day of Ann’s funeral.
The feeling was instant, intense and oh so joyful.
I’ve shared my feelings of the experience
with friends and family.
There is no way to convey
the intensity of the joy I felt
as I sat quietly in the back row of an unfamiliar church
during an equally unfamiliar funeral service.
Maybe that was part of God’s plan too.
Belief in Ann’s healing
and belief in life after life
in a perfect state of being
will never change for me.
It truly is A GIFT TO BE SHARED
Photograph By Mary Anne Tuck