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  • Writer's pictureMarji Stevens

Holy Strength

May 15 2015

Scarlet got worse as the evening progressed. I sat beside her on the floor of the laundry room feeling totally helpless. Her paralysis was increasing.

Of course I prayed . . . until I could pray, and cry no more. Then, from deep in the folds of my faith came song. I sang over her and worshiped the Lord. She seemed to quiet down. I think she had become blind, but she could hear my voice.

Exhausted, I closed the door and went to bed. At 1:30 a.m. I woke up, got dressed immediately as if I was in auto-pilot. Ten minutes later, we were on our way to the hospital for the third time in 24-hours.

Surprisingly, I felt strong. I could remember the same peculiar strength at other crisis moments in my life. A strength beyond anything normal, deeper, without disciplined thought or determination. Holy, pure strength, void of all stoicism.

I felt the same supernatural resolve when, as a new widow, I had to put my beloved dog, Molly, down. I felt it when I leaned over my mother-in-law at St. John’s Hospital moments before she passed. It came that time I was greeted by a nurse and a nun on the second floor of Hyland Hospital, with the news that my mom had died moments before. It coursed through me, with a force beyond human understanding, as I administered oxygen and morphine to my husband. It wrapped around me when my father died and this young Christian heard the Lord’s voice for the first time, “Seek Me when you are feeling strong, don’t wait until you’re feeling weak.”

Yes, the strength of the Lord cannot be described or duplicated. The strength of the Lord makes even the saddest moments bearable, makes you know that something, Someone, beyond yourself, is carrying and sustaining you.

“There really isn’t anything more we can do for her,” said the Vet. “She’s very distressed and this would be the kindest choice.”

I knew it was time, but still I staggered at the thought that I would ever hold such power. What would I want if it were me? Will I, in my lifetime, ever hear those words spoken over me? Will it become politically correct to end a life and call it kindness, masked in a cloak of carnal “mercy?”

“I agree,” I said, as the vet handed me a box of tissue. It was over quickly. I hugged the doctor, thanked the staff and walked out of the hospital empty-handed.

Driving home in silence I felt numb, with a raw sadness I’d felt many times before.

It’s just a cat . . . I tried to tell myself . . . but I knew it was much, much more.

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