It was 12 am of night. He was checking his patient’s list. The next patient was located in other room. Preparing himself for examining the patient, he entered the room labelled 602. A strange fragrance resided inside the room. He saw his patient, a 70 year old man with trimmed white beard, dressed in casual hospital gown. He was resting his head on hospital bed. Coming nearer, he observed the patient. He must have been quite a fine gentleman in his early years. As he gently tapped his forehead, the patient opened his eyes. For an old man, the sparkle of his eyes was like that of a rambunctious child.
“Greetings. I hope I didn’t disturb your rest.”
“I had just dosed off. Old age you know. So are you the doctor? Here to check me?”
His way of addressing him was unique. Continuously giving the looks like that of a sharp observer, this patient was quite different from the rest.
“That is right sir, if you could let me diagnose your disease. Here in list it says you have severe case of arthritis.”
“That might be true doctor. Though I doubt where come from, these diseases have any significance…”
He was surprised at the statement for a second. Concealing his expressions for sake of professional behaviour, the doctor continued,
“So where do you feel pain sir? May I check the area?”
Responding with a smile to this question, the old man gazed at him like seeing through him. He felt uncomfortable. For the first time in his life of checking patients, he had felt this way about a patient.
“Sir if you don’t mind, can we hurry with process?”
“I am your last patient. And tomorrow you are taking a day off. So what’s the hurry?!”
The statement would have made him jump were he not in habit of concealing his surprise. As he spoke, he couldn’t hide it anymore,
“Who…who are you?! How do you know that?”
“It is not the statement, rather the feeling you are getting which is making you nervous.”
He couldn’t take it anymore. He got up saying,
“I will come back a few minutes later…”
Before he could reach the door, the old man spoke up.
There was something about this accent that held his steps. It sounded somewhat familiar; he didn’t know how it was related to him.
“You always have been a rash person, whether it was the case of making decisions of your life or your faith.”
Strangely enough, he stopped to listen. There was a word which had made his surprise vanish instantly and replaced it with curiosity and nostalgia.
“What do you know about my faith?”
“You weren’t always once an atheist. You were quite a religious person, reaching out others. Helping others in time of need and seeing it as your duty from God. What happened to that John?”
He smiled bitterly. A moment ago he was nervous, now his mind was filled with memories. This change of emotions even made him surprised.
“The helping spirit didn’t save my only family I had. The religious faith didn’t serve me when I needed it most. It made me to be held in illusion and deception. It didn’t help me deal with practical situations.”
“Do you remember the night when Hilda died?”
His mind flashed with memory of the dark night. Emotions of past helplessness filled his heart once again.
“Who are you?! And how do you know all of this?”
“Who am I is not important. It is rather who are you?! Who were you? And who will you be? For now, as surprised as you maybe, just listen. In your heart you want to have this conversation. In your mind, you are rather compelled by logic to drift away and leave this behind.”
He felt helpless. Whoever this man was could be answer to problem he had been facing for such a long time.
“Tell me. Do you have the means to fill this void? The one which was created when despite all my prayers, all my grovelling to God, my wife died along with my new-born baby. I have been trying to become a pure atheist, yet something still calls me. I want to rid myself of illusion of religion, yet it is still there.”
“I can show you the way my child. The rest is up to you. Your heart feels compelled to establish those beliefs again. Yet your brain tells you based on experience to abandon all that. You are torn between this conflict of heart and brain.”
“I had an image of God. I trusted him like that of kind father. And he ended up disappointing me. Despite all my prayers, I couldn’t save Hilda through my prayers. How can I convince myself to go back to that stupidity and hurt myself again?”
“Tell me one thing. Did you ever trust God? Or trust Him enough to know He always compensates His creations?”
“How…. How am I supposed to convince myself when I have already lost someone so close?”
“If you trusted God, don’t you think He would compensate you for future?”
“Hilda was unique, One who accepted me for who I was. I doubt there will be anyone who is like her!”
“I see two things here. First you have low self-worth. Second, you had false image of God. It is when we self-actualize and realize God is not in outside sources, He is within us. We can access God through ourselves.”
“I don’t understand how any of this is related to Hilda or me?”
“You always held yourself in low position. Always grovelling before a Being who loves you more than your own mother. Even when you prayed you doubted that prayer would work or best outcome would ever happen based on Whom you pray to. When you found love, you affirmed that no one else would ever choose you other than her. You forgot that love between two lovers is reflection of Divine Love. Grovelling helplessly before Divine is not what the Divine wants. Divine wants you to embrace your worth and realize your life is sacred and has a purpose.”
His heart pounded for a second. He wanted to believe again.
“Your heart knew it was something within which was at fault. My child, the call you feel daily, it is still God calling out to you. Old emotions must leave; it is time of new beginnings. Know that you are a child of God who was sent here for a purpose. Your wife’s purpose was done and she ascended to a better place. Now it is you who needs to accept change, no matter how painful and be ready for compensation. In your heart, know that God loves you. He will compensate your loss.”
He felt as if this was the answer. In his heart, he knew he was never an atheist. He believed in a Higher Power watching over him. As he tried to raise another question, he noticed a change. The room’s condition appeared like it had not seen a living person for a long time. The old man lying on bed was gone. Before he could react with surprise, door from behind opened.
“Is it John? What are you doing in this room? It has been non-functional for a year. And let’s go John. All of your
patients have been checked.”
Smiling with a contented heart, he approached his colleague. Something inside told him that it was time of new