The old man’s wife was dying and there was nothing, absolutely nothing, he could do to change that. The remaining term of her life could no longer be measured in years, months or weeks but rather in days, hours and even minutes. What had for years seemed unfathomable was now all too real.
The tired old man tried to somehow make reason of the inevitable but there seemed to be no rationale that could be applied. No measure of reasonable hope could be found and there was no logical way to deal with a set of circumstances he had never before even imagined. How could he cope with the next few days and the moment of his wife’s death?
The old man had not lived a life of religious faith but now he wondered about his beliefs and he wanted to dare to trust that, if miracles were possible, perhaps he could ask for one. He spoke to God without knowing what to say. He offered apologies for his many years of disbelief but thought these regrets may be too little and too late. He asked God for some sign that he existed and was listening to the old man’s words, but no sign was given. The old man made guarantees that his future life would be different and more spiritual but, once again, no signs of acknowledgement were received. Day after day pleas were made for divine intervention, but the end of life only came nearer.
The old man became more desperate and wanted to bargain. He offered himself in place of the old woman. He explained that his wife had lived a much better existence and had been a better person therefore he was more deserving of forfeiting his life. But he continued to breathe while his wife’s breaths were becoming short and quick.
Prayer was something the old man had only heard of. He called God by name and asked him to hear his prayers. He offered hours of prayer and quoted scriptures as possibly God had not understood his earlier requests because they were not structured correctly. But once more, no indication or sign from above came down offering proof God was listening. Possibly he just didn’t care enough about the sick old woman.
Others known to the old man told him they were praying for him and his dying wife so he asked God to answer their prayers. If he wasn’t worthy in God’s eyes, maybe God would find the prayers of those lifelong believers more deserving of divine intervention. Over and over the old man reminded God of their names and prayers. The desperate days fraught with fear slipped away and still there was no sign of heavenly forgiveness and there was no miracle.
As the old man sat alongside his wife during the last hour of her life, he no longer attempted to gain God’s favor. His thoughts were of the many years he and the old woman spent together. As she lay motionless he couldn’t help but wonder what his life would be like without her in it. He could not imagine a life like that.
If any spiritual presence was near, it failed to make itself known to the old man and God’s blessings for a longer mortal life were not bestowed upon the old woman. There was no thunderous voice from above and no chorus of heavenly angels filled the room. The only sound the old man would ever remember was that of the last breath of air leaving the old woman’s frail body.
As time passed, the old man held onto memories of his wife and her final days on earth. He couldn’t help but think of his efforts to ask for God’s grace and how futile his efforts had been. Possibly God knew his prayers were nothing more than desperate words from a non-believer. Perhaps the old man had lived such a non-spiritual and blasphemous life that he was not deserving of divine intervention.
With the inevitable passing of days, weeks, months and years many memories remained in the old man’s mind and heart, but nothing more vividly than the six days without God.