The silence of the bedroom was suddenly broken as he started coughing violently. Throwing back the covers he jumped to his feet and headed out of the room down the hall and into the living room. Both he and his wife had been sick for days now but she was on the mend and he didn’t want to disturb her sleep. By the time he reached the living room the spasms of coughs subsided but his head hurt and his eyes were burning. A growing pressure in the center of his chest made taking a deep breath impossible. It concerned him that this constriction might not be related to the bronchitis that he was diagnosed with yesterday.
With head in hands he sat on the edge of the couch and prayed for relief as his mind raced. The pain in his chest was growing and expanding in all directions increasing his concern and causing him to fear the next spasm of coughs. “Dear God, what is going on?”He prayed,” Could this be it? I am nearly 60 and Dad didn’t even live to this age. My heart was supposed to be in good shape. Regular visits to the cardiologist and exercise were meant to thwart off any heart problems – right? Maybe this is it in spite of all my efforts!”
Although the living room lights were off there were a few beams of brightness that irritated his aching eyes. The glow of charging devices and the light from his neighbors back yard acted like tiny needles. Unplugging the devices and drawing the blinds removed the brightness of those little offenders. But, as a car drove past the house it activated the motion-detector porch light which shone threw the front door like a floodlight into the living room. Blindly stumbling over to the door he flipped off the switch for the porch light and glanced out the window. His eyes, offended by the incident, squinted out to see a shadowy figure at the end of the walk in the driveway. Looking again, after his eyes adjusted, there clearly wasn’t anything there. Shrugging it off he headed back to the couch still praying that his chest pain would subside.
But now, inside the darkened living room, seemed to be that same tall slender figure he saw in the driveway, right there in front of him. He stood breathless and in pain staring at the form thinking to himself that he either had died or was about to die. Before he could speak he heard an inaudible voice ask him “Well, are you ready?” and then it was gone.
Nothing about his circumstances changed after that brief encounter. He could barely take a full breath. His chest was still suffering from a growing sharp pain/pressure and his eyes were burning so badly that they helped him to dismiss what he thought he saw. His burning eyes had to be due to a high fever and that too would explain the delusion.
He returned to the couch only this time he prayed with a new found purpose. Was he ready? Well, if he wasn’t he would be. He fell asleep there, on the couch, praying to Jesus, without realizing that the pain went away and the coughing stopped.
The next thing he knew she was waking him up and asking him if he was alright? “Yes”, he said. “Yes, I am okay. Now.”