68: A Calming Presence

68: A Calming Presence

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Touched by an Angel

A Calming Presence

The magnitude of life is overwhelming. Angels are here to help us take it peace by peace.

~Levende Waters

My husband passed away six weeks after being diagnosed with cancer. That gave us very little time to prepare for what lay ahead of us. This was particularly true for my son Mark, who had a special bond with his dad. They were very close. They were alike in many respects, but completely different in others. Perhaps that was the key to their wonderfully unique relationship — enough alike to enjoy many of the same activities, yet different enough to complement one another’s personality.

As the weeks turned into months, Mark’s sadness over his dad’s death worsened. He seemed to find little happiness even in the brighter moments of his daily life. Every conversation turned into reminiscences of his favorite times spent with his best buddy. But then these fleeting moments of happiness would reignite his sadness as he realized, once again, that he could never add another event to his storehouse of treasured memories.

Mark was only thirty years old, yet in a real sense, he seemed to feel his life had ended with his dad’s death. Those of us who knew him best began to see signs of serious depression as he withdrew more and more into himself.

Fifteen months after my husband’s death, Mark was kneeling by his bed praying one night. He was pleading with God to somehow show him that he was not alone on his sorrowful journey and that the rest of his life would not be as painful as his present situation. He felt he could not go on much longer feeling as he did.

He later told me the events that followed his desperate prayer.

“Mom, I had been praying and asking God to please let me know that He was going to help me. I don’t know how long I had been praying, but then something really unexplainable happened. I suddenly felt a strange presence beside me, but I knew I was the only one in the house. It wasn’t frightening. It was actually peaceful and comforting. It was something I had never felt before, and it was so strong.”

Mark continued praying, being intensely aware of everything going on around him — the desperation in his heart and soul, the quietness of the night, and the mystery of what was transpiring around him.

“I didn’t open my eyes because I did not want to interrupt what was happening to me. I could not explain it, but I knew it was very special and that it was meant just for me. I was afraid that if I opened my eyes, the presence would be gone. I wanted the situation to last as long as possible.”

Mark had made his bed that morning, smoothing out the covers as he had been taught to do. He had knelt to pray near the foot of his bed, leaving the upper portion of the bedclothes untouched.

“As I kept praying, Mom, a deep sense of peace came over me, and I continued feeling that presence beside me. I wanted it to go on forever, but I knew it wouldn’t. When I finished praying, I stood up and looked at the bedclothes beside me. I couldn’t believe what I saw. Right there beside where I had been kneeling was a depression in the bed like someone had been sitting there. I know what it was, Mom.

“God knew how desperately lonely I was without Dad, and I know He sent an angel to be with me that night so I would know I was not alone. I was not imagining it, Mom. It was real! Can you believe it?”

Yes, I could believe it because I had previously encountered an angel. God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that the people who loved Mark had done all they could to help him. He knew it was time to send an angelic messenger to a desperate young man who was pleading for divine help.

The angel who came to my son’s aid that night was able to strengthen him for the journey ahead when we humans had done all we could. I want to find that angel in Heaven some day and express my heartfelt gratitude for the comfort and encouragement my son received that night. From that day forward, until Mark’s sudden death from natural causes a few weeks later, he exhibited a renewed sense of courage to face each day. He had felt the angel’s presence, and he knew he was not alone.

~Carol Goodman Heizer

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