98: Private Visit

98: Private Visit

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miraculous Messages from Heaven

Private Visit

We cannot destroy kindred: our chains stretch a little sometimes, but they never break.

~Marquise de Sévigné

The insistent knock on the front door annoyed me. It was late and I had just fallen asleep. I kept waiting for my mother or husband to get out of bed and answer the door. I knew I needed to rest because we had to get up at the crack of dawn to drive to the hospital for me to have surgery.

Earlier in the evening I had felt restless and asked them to pray with me. I couldn’t shake my fear even though I had already experienced way more surgeries than one human should have to go through. Each time I pulled through only to find out another one was necessary for me to regain full health. Eventually I calmed down and went to bed.

Now the knocking woke me and I found my husband Jim next to me snoring lightly. Mom’s bedroom light was out and the house was silent; even the three cats were sprawled at the bottom of our bed.

By the third round of loud knocks, with the doorbell ringing, I went to the door shaking my head. I couldn’t believe no one else heard this ruckus.

I opened it and started to speak, when all of a sudden my father danced in. He was happy and praising the Lord. He looked the same as the day we said goodbye to him at his funeral many years before. I couldn’t believe what I saw; I pinched myself as I thought perhaps I was dreaming. No, here I was with the porch lights on and the bright kitchen lights beamed.

“Dad,” I stammered. “What are you doing here?”

He answered, “I came to tell you that everything is going to be okay. You’ll be fine. I promise.” My father grinned. “It doesn’t matter if you live or die tomorrow, you will live. Either you will live in heaven with Jesus and me or you will live on earth a little longer.”

I began to weep. “Daddy, how did you know how scared I felt this time?”

“Because Mom, Jim, and you prayed. Then he said, “Wait, I have a surprise.” He reached outside and grabbed someone by the arm and she jumped into the house.

I recognized his mother, my grandmother. I hadn’t seen her for over twenty years. They were both grinning from ear to ear as if they had divulged the biggest secret of the century. Their infectious laughter caused me to join in. Then I realized we would wake everyone up, so I settled down and started to cry at the faithfulness of those we love and who love us.

Dad reached for me and hugged me and so did Grandma. Then they told me goodbye and not to worry anymore. I felt comforted as they let themselves out the door.

I wandered around the house full of deep thoughts and worship before I got a drink of water and returned to bed. Before I knew it, I was woken by my husband and mom. We left early for the long trip to the University of San Francisco and my major surgery.

Mom told me later that it was intense and the doctor believed that I wasn’t going to make it through, but I had a strong heart and a positive attitude as I went under the medication. It had taken twice as long as expected and recovery was slow, taking several weeks.

When I told them the story one afternoon after a boring rainy hospital day, both of them were in disbelief. Then they shared that they had felt something must have happened overnight because I was so different in the morning. Neither my mother nor Jim heard the knocks on the front door.

~Paulette L. Harris

More stories from our partners