“What do you have to be so happy about?” Becky snapped. “You are dying, just like I am! Quit that singing!”
Mindy had been trying to ignore her roommate’s negative and hurtful words all morning. It was obvious Becky was having a particularly difficult day which started when the doctor arrived on morning rounds. He asked the nurse to pull the curtain between the two beds and then began speaking in hushed tones to his patient.
“Do you want to talk?” Mindy asked Becky after the doctor left the room. “Sometimes it helps to give voice to our fears.”
The roommate made eye contact with Mindy just long enough to dismiss her offer with a shake of her head. “Leave me alone,” she said. “Talking about my problems won’t help at all. I am going to die. You are going to die. And that is that! Talking about it won’t change a thing!” she snapped.
After having spent these past months together Mindy understood what Becky was feeling and shared, “I didn’t want to believe it when I learned that I was not going to get any better. I rejected the fact that my life was almost over, just like you are doing. It wasn’t until I had a long talk with Jesus, that I was able to put my grief in the proper perspective.”
“Perspective,” Becky continued, “What is there to put into perspective? The doctor said they have run out of options and it is likely I have only a few months left. That is my perspective!”
Mindy opened her mouth to respond but Becky held up her hand as if to ward off the words she did not want to hear. She told Mindy, “Don’t start giving me any of that garbage about going to be with Jesus and living with Him in the Kingdom of God. I just don’t buy it.”
Mindy pulled back from the harsh words, turned toward the window and retreated into her corner. Facing the wall, or God’s corner, as she was fond of referring to her side of the room, Mindy prayed for her reluctant friend.
Becky always wanted to put on the gloves and fight her way through trouble and pain. She often found herself on the ropes, with no way to avoid the next punch but to tuck in her elbows and take a deep breath. She allowed no one to stand in her corner when life beat up on her.
Mindy was talking with God, “Show me how to be a friend to Becky. I want to tell her about you, about how you never left me when I became ill. I want to tell her why I love you even after you took my big brother Greg back to be with you.” She continued, “I want to share with her that I will see Greg again someday and that she and I could also see one another again. Please give me the words. Amen”
Her prayer ended and Mindy didn’t realize that she had been praying out loud and that Becky was straining to listen in on her conversation. The dying woman knew Jesus when she was a child but she used to joke in later years that theirs was a broken relationship. Becky didn’t poke fun at Jesus any more, she just felt abandoned and defeated.
“God,” she whispered, “How can I take back the years I neglected you and your words? How can I mend this rift between us?” Becky wondered if God heard her and she wondered if he cared.
Early morning sounds and bright sunlight poking through the shear window covering woke Becky from a troubled slumber. Feeling as though she had been dreaming all night Becky faintly recalled a lot of commotion and chaos in the room. She remembered low voices and strange noises during the night and unusual activity in the room.
Glancing over to Mindy’s corner she spotted a piece of paper on her own pillow. The name Becky was scribbled across the top in red ink.
The message read, “Dear Becky, I have loved our short time together. Please know how much you have helped me stay close to Jesus. Know too that not only do I care for you, but God loves you too. See you soon at the entrance to the Kingdom of God.”
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