Anne stared out the window of her daughter’s darkened hospital room. Mt. Rainier was a black monolith, outlined by a gold thread of morning light. The sky was muddy and bruised, umber colors so matching her own battered face that she seemed to disappear in the reflection of the glass.
A tiny green light danced across the window, pulling her thoughts back into the quite room. It was the heart monitor hooked to her four-year-old comatose daughter, Samantha. Flowers stood like ghostly sentries throughout the room. Each holding white cards in their fragrant hands, silent heralds of condolences sandwiched between prayers for a speedy recovery.
The accident had been caused by a drunk driver. He was eighteen, but Anne's innocent family had been no counterbalance to his careless act. Death and misery, blind servants of an apathetic malevolence, wielded their blades, separating bone and sinew, kith and kin, life from death. Taking her husband and throwing Samantha on the precipice of the same chiasmic void.
Yesterday, the surgeon told her that Samantha may not survive today’s surgery. His words tore at her heart like talons and she hugged her bruised body as if trying to bind her heart to stench the blood.
She glanced her reflection in the dark window, her pallor almost indiscernible to the sky’s flush, almost impossible to see where one ended and the other began. Pursing her lips, she dove once again into a sea of self-doubt, life-guarded by the Accuser, pondering a question that drew the very breath from her soul – was her faith enough to save her daughter’s life?
Samantha stirred and Anne went to her bed, taking her hand and squeezing it gently. “It will be okay, sweetie. Momma’s right here with you.” A door opened behind her, three pair of silent rubber-soled shoes approached. Her breath caught in her throat and she held her daughter’s hand tighter.
One of the nurses lifted a crystal pouch of a pale gold liquid above another pouch that hung from the crook of a metal stand. Quietly, effortlessly, she adjusted an intravenous tube that flowed into her daughter’s arm.
From behind, she heard the screech of the wheels from a gurney biting into the linoleum floor, and felt the jostle of the bed as another nurse lowered the stainless bar restraints of her daughter’s bed. Click, slide, bang – the sounds hollow, distant, frightening.
Anne renewed her grasp on her daughter’s hand and felt another on top of hers. “Dr. Johnson’s ready in the operating room, Mrs. Tanner,” a voice said.
Unwilling to release her daughter’s hand, Anne choked back tears as they placed her sleeping body on a gurney. In a dreamlike cadence, she walked beside her down the hall, never surrendering the warmth of her touch until Sammy was wheeled into the surgery room
Hours later, in the quiet chamber of the hospital chapel, the Accuser pulled Anne’s head deeper beneath the sea of doubt and self-incrimination. Her daughter had died; the damage to the liver too severe.
Grief came in waves, not the gentle undulating moonlit waves of a protected cove, but fierce and raging, crashing down upon her very soul. The Accuser’s tongue became a rudder, driving her head-first into the rampant waves, lassoing an anchor about her heart, pulling her into a riptide of doubt, ineptitude and fear. Pulling her down, stripping her of the sacred battle armaments of God.
“God did not answer,” the Liar taunted. “Your faith is weak, you stumble, you waiver. And your God not so much as stirs the wind with his breath.”
His words seared and burned her core, and her tears simmered with uncertainty. God was silent and His hushed voice frightened her. Visions of Samantha with her husband flashed into her mind - innocent, former times.
The Deceiver cried out, “All is lost, forever, you faith too weak, your God too silent.”
Kneeling at the chapel’s altar, hands rigidly clasp, Anne prayed. She prayed valiantly as a warrior; and from the depth of the sea, she climbed upon a rock and hid within its cleft and heard the Accuser’s voice howling like the wind around her.
Fighting despair, unable to bear the yoke alone, she covered her ears and with child-like confidence released her anguish to God.
Suddenly, the wind stopped, the Liar’s voice stilled. Her once simmering tears of uncertainty cooled to praise and thankfulness. Peace returned to comfort her and the silence of God became at last her certain and confident faith.
Based upon Psalms 91: (NIV) “We live within the shadow of the Almighty, sheltered by the God who is above all gods…he orders his angels to protect me wherever I go – because God tells me that he loves me – because I trust in His name. When I call, he will answer me and rescue me from harm and distress.”
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