Night’s darkness was slowly receding before the brightness of the new day. As he lay on his hospital bed, Alan knew it would be another day of pain and loneliness. He was in the final stages of that dreaded disease AIDs and was placed on reverse isolation. His immune system was so compromised that even a chance exposure to a common cold would be fatal to him. The doctors and care givers had to wear full isolation gear, mask, gloves, and gowns, not to protect themselves but to protect him.
He sighed as the pain started to shoot up his spine. It was time for his medication. Presently the nurse came and gave him the shot. The pain never left him but for the next couple of hours he would be able to tolerate it. Alan settled back on his pillows and sank into his usual pastime of remembering his past and contemplating on his future. Being on reverse isolation he could have no visitors.
Alan was an agnostic. He did not believe in the knowledge of God or a higher power. He reasoned that it was impossible for the finite mind to comprehend the infinite. Hence, he could not believe in what he could not understand.
Now, standing at the end times of his life he wondered about the hereafter. He was thankful for his I Pad. He used it to research into the theories about death and life afterwards. He read about the Big Bang theory. It was based on the idea that billions of years ago there was a big explosion out of which creation came into being. Alan figured that if the creation came out of an explosion, it would disappear into nothing in another explosion.
Then there was a theory that matter is not destroyed. Man and animals die and their physical bodies are eaten by worms and become manure that fertilize the ground feeding the vegetation which in turn becomes food for the animals and thus the cycle goes on. But the spirit does not die but lives on. The Hebrew believes that the spirit has its origin in God and is constantly headed towards God and ends in Him. The Hindus believe that the spirit is reborn as another being. This is called, Reincarnation. The Buddhists also have a similar belief that the spirit is born again in another form. The Christians believe that those who die in Christ will be resurrected and live with him forever.
Alan could not subscribe to any of these theories because none of them were based on any visible proof. No one had ever returned from death to confirm their accuracy. He was reading about them as fiction to pass his lonely hours.
That particular day, Alan’s pain was overwhelming. He was moaning and groaning. Medication was useless. His nurse Annie stood by his bed and held his hand. Her presence was always a comfort for Alan. Her mask covered her face but he could see the love and compassion in her eyes.
“I am so lonely, Annie, I wish there was someone I could talk to who has experienced this same pain and agony,” Alan whispered.
“Yes. There is someone. Jesus is His name. Talk to Him and He will comfort you,” she said and gave him a picture of Jesus on the cross.
Alan looked at the picture and for the first time realized that the man on the cross was in agony. ‘He might understand my pain,’ Alan thought and talked to Him. It was not a prayer, just one lonely, hurting soul finding solace in another. It became a daily ritual that consoled and comforted Alan a great deal.
The Gideons had left a bible on his nightstand and Alan leafed through it until he came upon the passage on the crucifixion. He did not understand much but enough to find peace and love. He identified himself with thief who was crucified with Jesus, and prayed that Jesus would remember him when he died. In his heart he was sure that Jesus would meet him at the Portals of the Pearly Gates.
That night Alan peacefully passed into eternity.
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