Bob turned with a start, then sat back in the pew. Bob never asked how Henry knew his name but maybe he felt that God was answering his prayer, or maybe he was just too filled with grief to notice. Bob decided though to put the young Asian priest to the test with, “Can you help me to die?” “I’m sick of living.”
Henry sat down next him in the pew, and after a long pause decided not to answer the question, but he went straight for the heart of the matter, “Grief can be a terrible thing, and it will take us down completely……if we let it.” Bob seemed surprised and asked, “You know???”
“About grief? Yes, too much in fact……but why don’t you tell me your story.” Henry shifted and turned, trying to get comfortable on the wooden benches. Tears involuntarily began flowing down Bob’s face, but they were tears from many different emotions twisted and swirling.
Bob did open up, perhaps because they were sitting in a church. He shared about the horrible pain and treatments his wife went through, but more than that he explained about the fear. For years he was always afraid of her dying, or of her suffering. He hated seeing her in pain, and yet there was nothing he could do. He did pray of course, but over time his faith faded away.
“And……well……I didn’t want to touch her……you know.” Bob looked at the floor embarrassed, and fortunately Henry picked up on what he meant. “You mean intimacy?” Henry asked in a low voice. Bob shook his head yes, and continued, “Yeah, I was afraid of the pain…..the sickness that was taking over……and of hurting her even more.”
Henry shook his head with understanding, and mentioned, “Bob this is completely normal, there’s no need to feel embarrassed.” He continued, “In fact you were being the compassionate husband that you are, the man God created you to be……and you were hurting too, in unbelievable ways…..”
His voice trailed off, but Henry through his own tears, now streaming down his face, noticed a change taking place with Bob. Was it hope he was beginning to see?
As the candles in the sanctuary flickered, Henry searched for more encouragement to speak into Bob’s life.
To be continued.
Writing and Image Copyright 2017, The Mystical Forest