Cloister of the heart is nothing if not portable. Our hearts can be cloistered in airplanes or subways, on beaches and in cars. Or, as our friend Rose experienced several years ago, when we're being hit by a truck.
"As I was crossing the street," Rose wrote in a letter, "a big red truck rounded the corner and hit me. The impact sounded like a terrible explosion, and I was thrown to the ground. The police and ambulance came, they strapped me onto the stretcher, and we were off to the hospital.
It was frightening, but I felt very calm. The fact that I was alive just overwhelmed me. As I lay flat on my back in the emergency room, just staring at the ceiling, I had time to think. My first thoughts were that if I had died - what were my last words? I thought back. I was in a restaurant. I had gone up to the counter and thanked the owner for the nice lunch. This made me feel good, to realize that my last words would have been nice ones. For some reason, that was very important to me.
Then I began to ask myself that if I had died, would I have been prepared to meet God for judgment. I thought of my many failings and imperfections that need correcting. I thought of things I can do better in my life. But then: I thought of my morning Mass and Holy Communion. I thought of the time I'd just spent being present to my God only hours before. Would it be terrible for me to admit that at that moment I felt a disappointment that I hadn't died? That I was loving God so much that I really would have liked to have been with Him that very morning?
As these thoughts were going through my head, my husband came over and took my hand. I looked into his eyes and saw so much love and concern. Then I knew that God knows my husband and children need me and this just wasn't the time for me to leave them. God must have more work for me to do on this earth before He calls me home.
My sister asked me if this incident has changed my perspective on life any. No, it hasn't. I have always realized that death could come at any time and I have always tried to live my life in this light. It just confirms all that I have always thought and felt.
One consolation for me was to realize that when faced with the idea that I could have been killed, I was not scared for my soul. I honestly felt that I could have accepted it, embraced it, willingly and with joy.
I don't know why that truck hit me. I don't know what God has planned for me. I feel a peace and a joy that are unexplainable.
I want to sing alleluias all day long."
from a letter by Rose (used with her permission)
This is not the first time we've shared something from Rose here. Click the following titles for more...
Squeezing Through the Crack
When We Feel the Grillwork Crumbling