My friend Judy, who has shared her stories of prayer and healing with me in earlier posts, has been blessed by a number of encounters that can only be described as divine intervention. Here is one such powerful story.
A SAINTLY VISIT
Having graduated from college Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude, I was feeling confident and excited to be accepted into a local nursing school program. I was used to long hours of study, and at the age of twenty-seven had an ample supply of midnight oil to burn.
My first day in Anatomy class, I was shocked and surprised to realize that science was very different from my undergraduate major of liberal arts. On the second day of class, we were given an anatomy test. I got an “F.” Now mind you, I had breezed through years of schooling with straight A’s. To instantly go from academic all-star to embarrassing flop threw me for a huge loop. What if I can’t do this? I thought. What if I can’t make it through?
I had just moved into a new apartment near the school. It seemed like ages ago that my parents and friends had proudly sent me off to conquer the world. In two short days, my confidence and excitement had vanished without a trace. The only thing I felt was terrified.
I sank down on my couch, completely overwhelmed, and inwardly asked God for guidance and reassurance. Hours passed. I continued meditating until a feeling of deep peace flooded my heart. Intuitively, I felt guided to visit Mary, an elderly woman who lived in a convalescent home ten minutes away. I had been stopping by to see Mary every Sunday ever since an acquaintance of mine had mentioned that she had no family or friends nearby. I usually brought her some cookies or a flower and chatted with her for a few minutes. I had mentioned that I was a nursing student, but we usually talked about her life.
After grabbing some dinner, I drove over to see Mary. The two other residents who shared her room were sleeping as I walked past them to Mary’s bed near the window. All it took was one look at Mary’s anguished face to realize that she was in intense pain. After we talked for a bit, I asked her if she wished me to put my hand on her forehead. I had just learned about the benefits of nurturing touch in helping patients sleep. Mary looked up from the hand-railed bed and nodded.
As my hand gently rested on her forehead, I felt deep compassion for her. She was all alone in this sterile, unfriendly place, and she was in pain. I shifted my gaze heavenward and spoke silently to my spiritual teacher, Paramahansa Yogananda, who had left this world thirty years before. “I’m all Mary’s got,” I said, as one might talk to a friend. “Would you come and help her?”
I shut my eyes and my breath became very still. An intense, blissful presence emanated from near my left shoulder. I had never experienced such a sense of awe and wonder, power and tenderness.
A few minutes later, seeing that Mary was at peace, I reached out to turn off the bed light. She looked up at me and said, “Judy, do you have any connection with India?”
“Do you mean American Indian?” I asked, perplexed. Since my hair was in braids, I thought that must be the answer.
“No,” she said quietly, “India. I saw a man with an orange robe and long black hair standing next to you.”
A chill went up my spine. Yogananda, a swami from India, wore the orange robe of a monastic and had long, black hair. In awe, I reached into my wallet and took out a picture of Yogananda that appears on the cover of his famous book, Autobiography of a Yogi.
“Is this who you saw?” I stammered.
“Yes,” she nodded, “He was standing right next to you.”
“That’s the great saint, Paramahansa Yogananda,” I told her. “He came to bless you.”
Mary nodded. A minute later, she drifted off to sleep. On my way home, I noticed that I felt a complete absence of fear. Deep in my heart, I knew that I was being guided with infinite love and tenderness and that as long as I gave my best effort, everything would work out just fine.
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