44: The Visit

44: The Visit

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven

The Visit

In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t.

~Blaise Pascal

It had been three years since I’d seen my mother. Nine months after my father’s death, she had finally found the peace she sought. They’d been together sixty-two years. She tried to pick up the pieces of her life and move on, but she was lost without him. The phone call from the assisted living facility marked the end of her loneliness.

There were so many things I wanted to tell her — little things that wouldn’t matter to anyone else, things only a mother and a daughter hold special between them. I’d pass a place we always liked to visit, and I’d want to call her to tell her about it. I’d forget she wasn’t there.

Time has a way of healing the hurt. But I felt a gnawing ache, a conscious awareness that she was the only person who ever offered me unconditional love.

I was home alone one morning and doing laundry. With my arms full of clothes, I made my way from the utility room through the den toward my bedroom. As I entered the den, I stopped in my tracks. In front of me, in the recliner in the corner, sat my mother.

She looked up and smiled as I stared back at her. She wore light gray sweatpants and a matching sweatshirt. I noticed she wore the set of pearls she always loved — the same set that supposedly was hanging from a wall sconce in my bedroom. Her new glasses, the kind with clear frames, were barely noticeable, and her hair matched her outfit.

Mom and I shared a brief moment of eye contact, and then she was gone. I felt her presence in the room as I said, “I love you, Mom.”

I slowly walked past the recliner and into the bedroom. I glanced at the wall sconce and saw her pearls. I had placed them there just before her service. I threw the clothes on the bed, but I couldn’t let the feeling go. I walked back into the den and sat down in the recliner Mom had just vacated.

“Where did you go?” I asked as my eyes took in every corner, every chair, and every inch of space in the room.

My gaze fell upon something beside me on the floor — my study Bible.

I didn’t use that Bible often — only when I needed clarification of some of life’s questions. It contained three different translations of the Good Book, and it was extremely heavy. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d used it, or any other Bible as a matter of fact. With my life in shambles from my recent divorce, I had let my Christian upbringing fall by the wayside as I wandered aimlessly, day by day, trying to figure out what had gone wrong. Two years worth of feeling sorry for myself and blaming everyone else had taken its toll on my faith and my ability to allow God to direct my path. However, the study Bible lay open before me and without hesitation I picked it up.

It was opened to the book of Ecclesiastes, the third chapter — my mother’s favorite. She’d read it to me many times during my childhood, and it carried through to my adulthood as one of my most well loved chapters. She liked the poetic flow of the words “to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die...”

I knew I had not opened that Bible; in fact the cover was dusty.

“What are you trying to tell me, Mom?” I asked as I again searched the room.

The only reply I heard was one she always would say when an answer was obvious: “You figure it out — you’re a smart person.”

She’d come back for a reason, and that was to deliver a message. I reread the familiar words: “a time to cry and a time to laugh; a time to grieve and a time to dance.”

“It’s time to get on with it, huh, Mom?” I asked out loud.

I knew it was time to get my life together and get myself back in church. It was time to quit blaming myself and everyone else for past mistakes and move on. I smiled and tried to remember the last time I’d laughed out loud or danced, as the verses mentioned. It had been too long to remember. I reached down and closed the study Bible, then jumped out of the recliner and danced a little jig across the den floor. I laughed so loud that my cat ran behind the couch to hide. My faith in God and His ability to soothe my wounded soul was suddenly renewed and I felt like a new person.

There’s definitely a season for all things. Mom was telling me to take life a day at a time and not get bogged down in things that don’t matter. I needed to keep looking up and stay focused.

~Carol Huff

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