He Will Make Himself Manifest

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic
A successful woman finds her world suddenly shattered by the diagnosis of a fatal disease. Her atheism is challenged and her life changed my a remarkable spiritual healer.

Submitted: November 04, 2016

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Submitted: November 04, 2016

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He Will Make Himself Manifest

 

Kate walked slowly down the clinic stairs. She was oblivious to the people around and behind her. She heard a man grumble about her slow pace as he rushed past her, down the stairs to the street.  She couldn’t move faster, because her hands and legs were shaking.. 

 

Kate felt dazed, light- headed, and empty inside, the same way she’d felt the night that Bill told her that he wanted a divorce. She’d felt this way the day she found out that Miller Bakery, her employer for 20 years, was selling out and closing.  She’d felt this way on that foggy Monday morning when she found her mom in bed, unconscious from a drug overdose. 

 

It was a gnawing feeling of disbelief, fear, panic and despair.

 

“Oh God!” Kate mumbled to herself, as she squinted against the bright noon sun. She ambled up the sidewalk to the clinic parking lot, longing for the comfort and privacy of her car.

 

She opened the door of her Corolla and climbed in.  She looked at her reflection in the rear view mirror and thought, “ How can I feel so bad and still look good?” 

Sadness overwhelmed her as she thought: “ An hour ago everything was so perfect!”.

She looked at her new hairdo; her blond hair attractively coifed in a French Twist, and the perfect makeup she’d so painstakingly applied that morning. Long eyelashes and eyeliner highlighted her bright blue eyes.  She gazed at the black shoes and expensive green dress she wore. The whole ensemble belied her 50 years. She always dressed up for medical appointments, but new she felt foolish, silly and hopeless. She began to weep.

 

A couple passed by on the way to their car. They heard Kate’s sobs and saw her tear-stained face. Looks of knowing and compassion were given as they averted their eyes.

 

“ Oh God, why?” Moaned Kate.

 

It was supposed to be minor appointment with Dr. Epstein, a pulmonologist at the Carter Medical Center.  Kate’s 25-year-old daughter, Kelly, had spent the night at Kate’s lakeshore condo and said “ Mom, you snore, loud! And you gasp for air!  You could  have a heart attack! Please go to the doctor!”

 

Kate was very embarrassed by Kelly’s revelation, but she also thought the maybe the snoring was responsible for the drowsiness that come upon her during the day, the drowsiness that she coped with by drinking ten cups of coffee every afternoon.

 

She made an appointment with Dr. Epstein.  She took the day off from her busy pastry shop “Kate’s Kakes”, letting her partner, Tom,  run the show. 

 

Dr. Epstein was overbooked that day, so Kate sat in his stuffy little waiting room for over an hour, crammed in with ten other people. She looked at them and thought, “What a bunch of slobs!” She felt good that she had cared enough to dress so well. She pulled out her Kindle and began reading a new book on baking,“ The Brownie Bible.”  She and Tom sold a lot of their classic and booze-infused brownies, and Kate was always on the lookout for new recipes.

 

Dr. Epstein’s nurse finally called Kate’s name, and she was shown to a tiny room, with nothing but an exam table, a scale, two chairs, and a small counter laden with medical supplies.

 

The nurse told Kate to have a seat. She left the room and shut the door.  Kate sat, and gazed about the worn and windowless room, trying not to feel anxious. She didn’t see doctors very often, but hated the wait for the doctor to come through the door.

 

Twenty minutes later, there was a knock, and in walked Dr. Epstein, a tall, bespectacled, thin man who resembled politician Paul Ryan. He wore a spotless white doctor’s smock, with a stethoscope around his neck. His voice was deep and harsh . He was not friendly; he was all business.

 

“ I’m Dr. Epstein, and you’re Kate?”  He looked at Kate’s paperwork. “ Says here that you’ve got a snoring problem?  How long has that been going on?” 

 

“I don’t know,” said Kate. “I didn’t know I snored until my daughter told me.”

 

“Hmm”, said Dr Epstein. “Snoring usually causes high blood- pressure. How’s your blood pressure?”

 

“I don’t know,” said Kate

 

“Well, let’s find out,” Dr. Epstein replied.  He reached into a drawer in the counter and took out a small white device with a black wrist cuff on it. He clamped it onto Kate’s left wrist and pressed a button.  The device made a whirring noise, and the wrist cuff tightened. Kate sat perfectly still as the device made clicking noises, and then beeped.

 

Dr. Epstein checked the readout, and said “ 150 over 90, hypertension!  You need some medicine for that!  If it’s been going on for a while, you may have damaged your heart and kidneys. Let me check your ankles.”

 

Kate’s head was spinning with the rapid-fire bad news. She was speechless.

 

Dr. Epstein looked at Kate’s left ankle and squeezed it. “Hmm, edema.  You’ve got right heart failure.”

 

The words heart failure pierced Kate’s psyche like a knife. She felt as though her soul had been ripped from her body. The color drained from her face.

 

Dr. Epstein looked at Kate and realized the impact that his vocal, indelicate stream of  consciousness style of  diagnosis had taken on her.

 

 “Well, it’s not like you’re going to die, at least not right away,” he  remarked. Kate found little comfort in his tersely expressed assurance.

 

“What’s the prognosis?” asked Kate.  Dr. Epstein then graphically detailed the miserable story of heart failure, the heart’s gradual weakening, the body swelling and drowning in fluid, and then the grossly- enlarged heart finally ticking to a halt. “ It takes up to five years,” he said.

 

Kate was aghast. “Is there a cure?”

 

“Only a heart transplant,” stated  Dr Epstein. “ But you’ll need to lose a lot of weight before that could happen.  I see that you own a bakery? Hard to lose weight in that business! Plus, you’ll need really expensive health insurance. Seems like you’ve got lots of problems!”

 

Kate stood up to leave. 

 

“Sorry about that,” he snapped.  “If it’s any comfort, there’s an enzyme test I can take that will show us if your heart’s been damaged, but I can guarantee you that it will come back positive”

 

“Don’t bother”, sneered  Kate as she opened the door.

 

“But what about your snoring and hypertension? We’ve got to deal with that,” he pleaded.

 

“I’ll see another doctor.”

 

She had to get out of there. Dr. Epstein stood to the side of the tiny, seedy room, and looked sheepishly down and away, in silence, as Kate walked out.

 

The receptionist asked “ Need another appointment?”  But Kate ignored her, and made her way to the clinic’s exit. The receptionist shook her head, and glared with disgust at the clueless Dr. Epstein.

 

Now, Kate sat in her car, weeping uncontrollably, and wondering how to handle the bad news that had suddenly taken her world apart. 

 

How could she tell Tom that she had only five years to live?  He’d panic, because he’d invested every cent he had in the business, and he relied on Kate’s baking skills to keep their customers happy. He’d want out, she’d have to sell the business to pay him off.

 

 

How could she tell Kelly?  Kelly depended on her for so much, as she struggled to make ends meet as an elementary school teacher. She and Kelly were mother and daughter, but also best friends. Kelly would be devastated.

 

Kate decided that the best course of action would be to tell no one, and to prepare in silence for her untimely, youthful demise.

 

 Life after the diagnosis was little more than a slow, painful slog through a sea of despair,  hopelessness and illness. Kate went to sleep with Dr. Epstein’s “right heart failure” and “five years to live” stuck in her mind. She awoke fitfully most nights, feeling that her heart was pounding and palpitating. She developed chest pains and breathing problems, and had to leave her bed for the living room couch, where she tried to sleep sitting up. Her misery began to show on her face, with bags and dark circles under her eyes. She was mentally and physically exhausted, and her condition affected her work 

 

“What’s wrong with Kate?” Asked Melba, the pastry shop’s counter girl. “She lookin’ like she be sick or somethin,’ all grouchy and tired. People  be complainin’ about the food, sayin’ that it ain’t  as good as it used to be. And Kate bein’ rude to the customers.  You got to find out what’s goin’ on, Tom.” 

 

“ I’ve asked her, and all she’ll tell me is that she’s trying to shake a cold, that she’ll be fine in a few days.” Said Tom. “If she doesn’t snap out of it soon, you and I will have to take up the slack. I’ll take over the baking, and you can keep Kate away from the customers.”

 

“ Well, that ain’t gonna work, ‘cause the customers love Kate, and so do I. Melba teared up.  I’m gonna have girl-talk with her, and find out what the hell be goin’ on.”

 

Kate was sitting in her office, with fingers on her left wrist, taking her pulse, when Melba knocked on the door.

 

“ Who is it?”  Asked Kate, breathlessly.  She was tired and her chest ached, and she really didn’t feel like company.

 

“ It’s Melba, girl. Can we talk?”

 

“ I’m really not well, Melba. Can it wait?”

 

“ It’ll just take a minute , honey. And I got somethin’ that’ll make you feel better.”

 

“Alright, come in,”  muttered Kate, reluctantly.

 

Melba walked in, carrying a shopping bag, and sat in the chair across the desk from Kate.

 

Kate looked at her affectionately. She really was a lovely young woman, resembling the  beautiful 1970s soul singer Chaka Khan.  Kate loved Melba’s sweet assertiveness. She was kind, sensitive  and intelligent, but also street wise and tough. The customers loved her frankness, honesty and quick wit, and most importantly, they trusted Melba’s advice about what goodies were best that day. She was a perfect employee.

 

Melba stared at Kate with concern. “Girl, you so pale!  What kind of damn cold you got? What the doctor say?”

 

“I’m looking for another doctor. The one I saw is a real jerk  He thinks out loud, and scared me to death.”

 

“Scared you to death? About a cold?  What the hell did he tell you?”

 

Kate bit her lip, and her eyes filled with tears.

 

“Girl, what the hell did he tell you?  It’s more than a cold, ain’t it?”

 

Melba reached into her shopping bag, and withdrew a bottle of Hennessey cognac, with two glasses. She put the glasses on the desk, opened the bottle and poured two generous shots.

 

“I’m not supposed to drink” Said Kate

 

“Well, you gonna drink this, it’ll kill that cold.” 

 

Kate gingerly took a sip, while Melba drained her glass, and poured herself another shot.

 

Melba waited for a minute, her eyes fixed on Kate. Kate took another sip. 

 

“Feeling better?” Asked Melba.  Kate gulped, and began to cry.

 

Melba stood up, walked over to Kate, and hugged her tight.  Kate squeezed Melba’s arm and kissed her hand. Tears rolled down her cheeks.

 

Melba sat down and held Kate’s hand. 

 

“Girl, tell me what’s really wrong, so we can do somethin’ about it”

 

Kate wiped her eyes and mumbled “ It’s my heart. I’m dying.”

 

Melba sat up straight. “ Your heart? What’s wrong with your heart?”

 

“Right heart failure. He looked at my ankle, said that I have edema, and that my heart

 is failing.” Kate began to sob. “I have only five years left!”

 

 

 

“How he know that., just by lookin’ at your ankle?” Melba was angry.” Shit, girl, my ankles be swollen’ as hell, standin’ on my feet all day, an’ I ain’t got no damn heart failure. That doctor a quack, tellin’ you that shit without makin’ no tests. He need to have his ass kicked!”

 

Kate laughed for the first time since the diagnosis.

 

Melba tenderly squeezed Kate’s hand, and said, “I knew it was more than a cold, that it was somethin’ serious. So I talked to my Aunt Effie. She’s a spiritual practitioner and healer, and she’ll pray for you if you want her to, but you’ll have to ask her yourself.”

 

“Can she heal heart failure?  How does she do that?

 

“By changing the way you look at things.”

 

Kate shook her head in total confusion. “Sounds kind of weird and crazy, Melba,

and I really don’t believe in God.”

 

“Well, I didn’t believe in God either, but like Auntie says; ‘You may not believe in God, but God believes in you.’ And she’s right. I’ll call her so you two can talk.”

 

Melba pulled a cell-phone from her jacket pocket and dialed her aunt’s number.

 

“ Hi Auntie, how are you?  I love to hear your voice too, sweetie.  I have my boss Kate with me, and she’d like you to help her with her problem. Here she is. I love you, Auntie.”

 

Kate took the phone.

 

“ Hello, Aunt Effie, this is Kate”

 

“ Hello, darlin! You sound as nice as Melba says you are. She loves you and her job so much. And I love you for being so sweet to my niece. You’re such a beautiful person.”

 

Kate was unnerved by Aunt Effie’s resonant, mellow voice, and by her goodness. She sounded like an angel.  Never had she talked to anyone so positive and so kind. There was a pleasant, palpable something emanating from Aunt Effie.  Kate was feeling it.

 

“Melba says you can help me by changing the way I look at things? How does that work?And to be honest, I really don’t believe in God.”

 

“Well, God believes in you, honey. In fact, God is you, whether you believe it or not. And, if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change, for better or for worse. It’s a spiritual law.”

 

Kate felt herself being drawn into something new and strange, something deep inside her, something that seemed to finally be coming to the surface. She felt a tinge of fear, and almost told Aunt Effie to forget it. She enjoyed the simplicity and the comfort of her atheism. She didn’t like to think about God; a cruel, sadistic, all- too human God that she saw no evidence of anywhere. This God that Aunt Effie seemed to be relaying to her was  completely different from any horrible  human- like God she’d learned of or heard about in church. It felt good, like an ethereal, spiritual God of pure and powerful love.

 

Melba watched Kate knowingly. “She’s feeling the spirit.” She thought.

 

“ Kate, if I told you that God was closer to you than breathing, and that He loved you like a father loves his precious child, could you believe in Him and love Him?” Asked Aunt Effie.

 

“Well, of course, why not?” Giggled Kate

 

“That’s  good. I’m going to tell you something that’s meant for you. It comes from a beautiful young Christian mystic named Simone Weil.  She said: ‘If you love God-even though you think he doesn’t exist- He will make Himself manifest’.”

 

Kate shook her head in bewilderment and said “Isn’t that some kind of paradox? I don’t get it, Auntie.”

 

“I know, it’s hard to understand, darlin’, but what it means is to love God with that same loving feeling that He gives you, and  then watch as His goodness appears in your life. Then you’ll know that He exists.”

 

“Ok,  I can handle that,” said Kate.  But what about changing the way I look at things? What does that mean?”

 

“Well, after you’ve experienced God’s grace and presence by loving Him with all your heart, you’ll start seeing things as He does, perfect and harmonious. That’s the way I see you now, as God sees you, perfect and harmonious.” Ask my girl Melba how she sees you.”

 

Kate lowered the phone and asked Melba: “ She wants to know how you see me”

 

Melba laughed and said, “Perfect and harmonious, right?”

 

‘You’ve taught her well, Auntie,” said Kate.  So does this new way of looking at things actually work?”

 

“We’ll see, darlin, we’ll see.. I’m going to be with you in spirit for awhile. Whenever a fear of your problem arises, I want you to think of me, and say this:  ‘I am perfect in God.’ Those words have great health-giving power. And Melba will give you my number, and if you ever feel sick or afraid, please call, day or night. I love you, honey, and God loves you. We’re all in this together, as one. Bye, now. May I speak with my niece?”

 

Kate handed the phone to Melba. “She wants to speak to you.”

 

“ Ok, Auntie, thanks so much. I love you too. Yeah, she’s lookin’ better already. Funny what a little chat with Auntie Effie and some Hennessey will do. Bye, Auntie, love you!”

 

Melba looked triumphantly at Kate. “ Girl, you got some damn color in your face! You startin’ to look like you again.”

 

“Your aunt is special, Melba,” stated  Kate.  She has some kind of power. You can feel it flowing through you as you talk to her.  I feel like I’m tingling right now. I feel absolutely wonderful.”

 

“ This calls for a toast,” declared Melba. She poured a generous shot of cognac into each glass. She handed a glass to Kate, and they raised and clinked them.  “ To Aunt Effie, perfect hearts and perfect health” They drained their glasses, then stood and gave each other a loving hug.

 

Kate followed Aunt Effie’s advice. When she woke at night in a panic, with Dr.Epstein’s diagnosis haunting her, she  immediately thought of Aunt Effie and her kind words:”I love you, honey, and God Loves you” and “I am perfect in God”. After a few minutes, the panic would yield to a profound sense of warmth, safety and love, and Kate would gently slip into a peaceful sleep.

 

Tom immediately noticed Kate’s change for the better- to his great relief .The customers  let Tom and  Melba know that Kate was back to her cheerful old self; maybe even more cheerful.

 

After a couple of weeks, to her astonishment, Kate actually began to enjoy the flashbacks to Dr. Epstein’s grim opinions, because they gave her reason to think of Aunt Effie, and her new motto:”I am perfect in God.”  Dr. Epstein’s doomsday litany had suddenly become a force for good.  “I guess that’s what she meant by ‘change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change’. Wow, what a trip,” thought Kate.

 

She also knew that in spite of the wonderful realizations of God she was experiencing, and Melba and Aunt Effie’s powerful metaphysical influence, her mind would not be at ease until she got another medical opinion about her heart.

 

She made an appointment to see Dr. Benson, a cardiologist. She asked that her heart be thoroughly tested, because she feared that her heart was failing. Dr. Benson’s office scheduled her for an electro- cardiogram, an echo-cardiogram,  and a cardiac perfusion/stress test. Dr Benson would see her afterwards, to discuss her condition and treatment.

 

Kate spent an entire day at the Carter Medical Center cardiac department undergoing the tests. Two weeks later, she met with Dr. Benson, in his consultation room, to discuss the results.

 

Dr. Benson was one of the Carter Medical Center’s founders, so his office and treatment rooms were spacious and well-maintained, unlike Dr. Epstein’s tacky  facilities.

Dr. Benson was a stocky, gentle, very pleasant gray haired  man in his late 60s. When Kate saw him, she recognized him as a customer. Dr. Benson recognized her, too.

 

“My God, you’re the fabulous Kate of Kate’s Kakes!”  shouted Dr. Benson. “What an honor!. I’ve eaten so many of your scones and cupcakes that I’ll probably need a cardiologist! Your stuff is the best!”

 

After Kate quit laughing, Dr Benson grew serious. “What’s all this about you and heart failure?  Where did you get that?”

 

“Well, I went to see Dr. Epstein  because I was snoring, and he said my blood pressure was high and that I had edema in my  left ankle, which meant that I had right heart failure. It really upset me”

 

“Well, of course it would, my God!”  Dr. Benson agreed  “I never use the words heart failure in my practice, it sounds too ominous, and it always upsets the patients. I try to frame it more delicately. I’ll call it a weak heart. Sounds a lot less scary, plus a weak heart can always get stronger, just like your heart.”

 

“Just like my heart; what do you mean?”  Asked Kate.  Dr. Benson began looking at Kate’s test results. 

 

“Well, your electro cardiogram  was normal, your cardiac perfusion and stress test showed no blockages, and best of all your, echo cardiogram showed an ejection fraction of  62, all perfectly normal. You don’t have right heart failure.  Your blood pressure is a little high, but you can probably deal with that and your edema by cutting back on salt, caffeine and alcohol.  And,  about that snoring. Are you sure that you didn’t just have a cold? All in all, I’d say that my favorite baker is going to keep me fat and happy for years to come!”

 

Kate laughed, and a powerful wave of relief and  joy passed through her. As Dr. Benson  put her test results back in their folder, Kate suddenly heard Aunt Effies’s angelic voice.

 

“He will make Himself manifest.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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