Grace, dead three months but it seems like an eternity. Mary, eyes brimming with tears, drove slowly down the street. I cannot bear it, she thought. My beautiful daughter dead at 19 from a stupid virus. How could God allow that?
I know our church believes what I’m going to do is wrong. But how evil can it be if it connects me to my daughter? Lee deals with his grief by pouring himself into his work. He won’t be home until morning. I feel so alone!
Going up the uneven walk, she looked carefully around, although it was almost dark. Best if no one knows I’m here, it’s no-one's business. She knocked. The paint-scarred door was opened by Madam Eliza, a tall, dark-haired woman with pale blue eyes.
“Welcome, Mrs. Johnston. Come right in here.” She indicated a small, dark room containing a round table covered with black cloth. The faint scent of incense hung in the air. Candles, flames barely flickering, were scattered around the room.
“Sit down, Mrs. Johnston. Now, take my hand, close your eyes, and try to relax.”
Mary obeyed. Madam Eliza sighed deeply and in a quiet, firm voice said, “Grace Johnston, would you come into our presence? Your Mother, Mary, misses you and needs to hear from you.” Time passed. A cool breeze brushed across Mary’s face. She strained forward eagerly, “Grace?”
“Shhh,” said Madam Eliza. “She’s coming. Be patient.” After a long while, a soft rap, two raps, one rap, then silence. Madam Eliza said, “Mary. Your daughter indicates that she is all right, but she did not say anything more. Sometimes the spirits don’t stay long the first time.”
“But it was Grace, wasn’t it?” cried Mary eagerly. “You really contacted her didn’t you?”
“Oh, yes,” said Mrs. Eliza. “She will stay longer and may even speak next time.”
Mary discreetly placed money in the bowl beside the door and left elated. I will reach Grace, span the gulf that lies between us, and hear her voice. Joyfully, she drove home.
The minister’s car sat in front of her house. That’s Pastor Rey, thought Mary guiltily. He mustn’t learn where I’ve been.
“Hi, Mary,” said Pastor Rey. Mary slowly walked toward him. His wife, Sarah, and John and Beverly Kent stood beside him. “We were waiting for you.” said Pastor Rey with a smile.
“I, I went to see a friend.” stammered Mary.
Pastor Rey said gently, “Could that ‘friend’ have been Madam Eliza?”
Mary paled, her mouth suddenly dry.
“ Mary, we are not here to judge you, we understand your grief,” said Pastor Rey, “Let’s go in, shall we.?”
Inside, Pastor Rey prayed for guidance and understanding, then said, “Mary, grief is a heavy load. We know, for each of us here has lost a child. It’s one of the most overwhelming emotions there is. But, Mary, you are seeking solace in the wrong place. God is waiting to comfort you. Going to Madam Eliza is wrong! No one except God can bring someone back from the dead. It’s an evil sham, Mary.”
Mary cried, “But it seemed so real, I felt Grace so close to me. I miss her,” she sobbed.
“Mary, believe me, we know what you are going through.” said John while Beverly gathered Mary into her arms.
After further prayers and discussion, Pastor Rey said, “Mary, whenever grief overtakes you, pick up the phone and call any of us, we’ll come immediately. And you know God is always ready and waiting for your call.”
“Thank you,” said Mary. “I am grateful to all of you.”
Later,in bed she tossed restlessly. God, I know it’s wrong. But I need my daughter. Maybe if I go see Madam Eliza just once more, I’ll hear Grace’s voice and it will be all right. How can I not go and miss a chance to contact her? God, I don’t know what to do. Suddenly she heard Pastor Rey’s words from earlier that evening. “Mary, you will see Grace again! God has promised! You just need to trust in His comfort until that time.” Yes, thought Mary. Forgive me, God for being so impatient. Give me the strength and courage to wait until I see Grace again. Finally at peace, she slept
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