Angel on My Shoulder
My deceased daughter Kathryn looking over my shoulder as I was writing a story about her...
Blessed are those who have not seen,yet still believe.
Many times in our lives, events happen in our personal life that seem to really test our faith, and make us question God's decisions for us. The loss of a loved one seems to propel our doubt in Our Maker more than any other emotion. The loss of an elderly Grandparent or Parent can be expected due to age or health issues, and we can accept these facts as part of the journey we must all take some day. This is the price we must all pay for being allowed to live long and fruitful lives, but when misfortune or accidents take away the lives of the young, more times than not we are left in a state of shock. Everyone seems to ask the same question when something like this occurs... “Why?”
Over the years, I have seen people that claim to have “No Religion”, or try to tell you they don't believe in God, be forced to face the circumstances of the loss of a loved one, and more times than not, the same question crosses their lips... “Why?”. I have often wondered who these people of “No Faith” are speaking to when the question is asked. Are they asking themselves the question hoping to find an answer within the confines of their limited mind, or are they secretly admitting there is a “God”, and they are asking Him for the answer they so desperately seek ?
I have always been a man of faith even though it has been several years since I have attended church. Between the ages of 6 and 12, I was in church practically every Sunday and surrounded myself with like minded individuals. To this day, I believe those were the most important years of my life because I was taught God's word, and since that time I have actually seen God and Heaven in three separate dreams. These dreams seemed to reassure me of my faith in times of doubt, and allowed me to press forward in my times of struggle, knowing that there was something better waiting for me when I leave this earth behind.
I mention the facts of my faith to illustrate a point. Jesus spoke to Thomas and told him, “You have seen, and therefore you believe. Blessed are those who have not seen, yet still believe.”
My Mother just turned 80 back in June of this year. A bitter old woman still carrying grudges toward her siblings from events that happened during her childhood. I have spoken with her on several occasions about forgiveness and letting go of the things in her past that she could not change, but it seems her mind is fixated on the past and constantly trying to recall events that she feels damaged her in some way. Even though I have tried to explain that forgiveness is the road to salvation, she still insists on looking back at the bad events in her life.
My Mother and I were sitting and talking the other day and I could see she was carrying a troubled heart. When I asked what was wrong, she simply replied, “I am scared because I don't know what happens after we die.”. She had gone to church as a child as I had, but somewhere along the way, she seemed to lose her faith in God. I tried to explain that we go to be with our loved ones when we die, and there is nothing to be afraid of. They will be there to help guide us to where we are supposed to go, but I could tell my words were falling on deaf ears. For the next week or so, I prayed for her and asked God to restore her faith and remind her of forgiveness.
I am a true believer that everything that happens in our lives are preordained. Even though we have the gift of Freewill, circumstances in our lives seem to lead us in certain directions that we would have never dreamed of, thus, I feel our Freewill is also preordained. Finding ourselves in the right place at the right time isn't just circumstance, nor is being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I feel we are placed in circumstances that will lead us to the point we are supposed to be, whether these situations are “Good or Bad”.
When recalling loved ones from my past that have passed away, I always try to focus on the positive aspects of our relationships. Remembering the times they made me laugh, and how much I truly love and miss them. Many times when I delve into the past, I will write short stories to try to explain the circumstances of certain situations we shared, and the joy I found just in knowing these people, and how fortunate I feel just to have been allowed to have them as a part of my life. I've always felt that a part of them lives on in me. I've never really known why I feel this way, only that I find great joy in reminiscing over the time that we were allowed to share.
I was writing one of my little short stories last night about my daughter and a fishing trip we took when she was only 3. She was tragically killed in a car crash coming home from church with her Grandmother when she was only 7 years old. The date February 24th, 2008 will forever be etched in my mind as the day of my greatest loss ever. Kathryn carried more love in the tip of her pinky finger for not only everyone she met, but all God's creatures and creations, than most people will ever experience in a lifetime ! What happened while I was writing about a loved one from my past was truly astounding to say the least...
I was writing on the computer while my son was sitting in a chair across the room from me messing around on his IPod. He had no idea what I was doing, and out of the blue, he decided to take a picture of me. He started laughing and said,”Daddy, I just took a pic...”, but he stopped in mid sentence and said,”Oh my God !!! Look !!!”. He had captured a picture of Kathryn looking over my shoulder at the story I was writing !
I have been wondering why there are times when it feels like the hairs on my arms are tingling, or even on the back of my neck for no reason at all when I am writing. I guess now I know. It is because a loved one is visiting. I suppose love is the strongest emotion of all next to hatred, and since I am a man of faith, it allows my loved ones to visit and fill my mind with precious memories of our past.
A couple of hours later, my mother, “The Doubting Thomas”, emerged from her room to get a glass of milk, and I immediately told her that we had a visitor while she was asleep. I then walked her to the computer and showed her the picture. She smiled and choked back a tear when she softly said,”That's Kathryn...”. I suppose this was the answer to my prayer for her. That her faith be restored and the doubts of her troubled mind be put to rest. My words had fallen on deaf ears, but she believed her own eyes. “You have seen, therefore you believe. Blessed are those who have not seen, yet still believe.”.
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