Spiritual Presence

“I have something to tell you,” the mother of a dear friend calls, as she walks slowly from her daughter’s porch toward the low fence dividing our yards. I look up from under the large brim of my gardening hat to see her smiling, while I shift the garden hose from the plant I was watering to the ground around a thirsty, flowering bush. We have happened upon a dry spell. All of the garden plants, as well as the lawns are thirsty.

“How are you feeling after your surgery?” I ask, continuing to water the garden.

Reaching the fence, she folds her arms easily over the fence’s top, settling into a comfortable and supported standing position. She looks tired, but well.


The previous week, my neighbor had requested that I pray for her mother’s safety during her mother’s surgery.  Even though the surgery was a fairly routine procedure, I was told that my neighbor’s mother might encounter some complications due to the delicate nature of her general health.

With the fence steadying her, my friend’s mother continues, “I was in the hospital, you know, on the table for my operation. I had put that surgery off for a few years because of my other health issues. Anyway, it was an accident. The doctors cut a major something—a vein or artery—during my surgery.  Now, it was a complete accident.  I had to have a transfusion. Apparently, I have an irregularity in my–uh, my–uh…”

“Anatomy?” I fill in the word.

“Yes, in my anatomy,” she nods.

“Anatomical irregularities are fairly common,” I shift my watering hose to another location in the yard. “We are not as cookie-cutter, in terms of our anatomy, as we would like to think—or as the textbooks would have us believe.”

She continues, “Anyway, what I wanted to tell you is that you showed up.  Before everything went black because of the blood loss, you started talking to me like this—like we are talking now, over the fence.”

“What were we talking about?” I ask because my curiosity has been piqued.

“I don’t know. I don’t remember, but it was calming and friendly like.  Anyway, I wanted to tell you.”

And, in that moment, I say another prayer for the Grace that abides.