He Watched With Me © 2004 Ginger Hamilton Caudill
A new chemotherapy drug I took for my breast cancer had caused my nerve cells to swell up, sending millions of pain messages to my brain. Every nerve cell in my body panicked and told my brain to make my body get away from whatever caused the pain. Unfortunately, it couldn't. The medicine had absorbed into each and every cell in my body. There seemed no relief, except perhaps death. At that moment, death seemed a preferable experience.
I decided to try and take my mind off my pain by surfing the net or reading email or even trying to write a story. Millions of people are online at all times, but none of my friends were. I went through my list of online bulletin board groups and read each posting. Cheerful Christmas stories and silly requests from Santa weren't what I wanted to read right now. I felt even lonelier knowing the entire world was happily anticipating Christmas, baking and wrapping presents, while I suffered.
I opened my email. A thoughtful friend had sent me an e-card. Suddenly feeling cold, I looked down at my pajama top. It was soaked clear through with my tears. Lifting it away from my chest, I realized it was sopping wet. Just then, a midi file began to play "Silent Night."
Surprised, I looked up at the monitor. I hadn't realized I'd clicked on the e-card. I loved "Silent Night." It was one of my favorite Christmas songs. I began to sing the words in a blubbering whisper to try and take my mind off my suffering…all is calm…all is bright. I felt as if my chest would burst, and choked on yet another sob. All is not calm. All is not bright. I am suffering and alone! I am so alone!
It occurred to me this must be how Christ felt in the Garden of Gethsemane when all he wanted was for his friends to watch with him, and they fell asleep. I would have watched with you, my Brother. I would have kept the faith and not slept, I thought. I'm so sorry you were alone.
At once, I felt a comforting, loving warmness that filled me from head to toe. I felt like a cup with warm cocoa being poured into it, all the way to the top. A veil of calm descended over me, and my breathing became deep and regular.
I didn't hear a voice, but a powerful thought entered my mind that I was not alone, I was never alone, that Christ was with me in everything that I experienced, that He would never abandon me. The thought continued that all was well and according to plan, that the part of me that was truly me, my spirit, was alive and well and thriving despite what my physical self experienced, that I was eternally safe.
I got much-needed relief from my pain. The intensity was never as severe after this marvelous event. I was able to tolerate the pain until the effects of the medication wore off some weeks later. The real relief, though, is in the complete assurance that I am never alone.