While in Heaven
Back in 2005, Pope John Paul II was dying. His long reign as Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church was coming to an end. We watched the TV coverage with a sense of sadness, shot through with joy, anticipating the reward he was about to receive after his life of work and service.
Closer to home, though, my wife was not feeling well. She’s been a Type 1 diabetic for most of her life, and we’ve dealt with the various issues around her condition for many years. As John Paul II lay dying, she suddenly began experiencing vertigo, a particularly severe type that would not let her walk, or even sit up with both eyes open.
We thought it might pass with rest, so I tucked her into bed and provided what comfort I could. As I watched over her, we suddenly heard the bells ringing from our nearby church, and knew that John Paul II had passed on. She laid there, eyes closed, listening to the bells.
That night I slept fitfully next to her. Her condition was no worse, but not improving, and I knew I’d have to take her to the hospital in the morning.
I began to dream. I was in a darkened space, no detail. In front of me I saw a man dressed in white with his back turned to me. He turned, and I was looking into the face of the deceased pope. His eyes twinkled, and he smiled that unforgettable smile, looking directly at me, not saying a word. And then he was gone.
In my sleep I suddenly felt a tremendous wave of peace and comfort flow over me, and I slept soundly the rest of the night. The next day I took my wife to the hospital, telling her of my dream on the way. She was admitted, and the doctors were baffled as to the exact cause of her problem.
But I remembered that smile, and asked John Paul for his help. Within a day, the vertigo left her, and she has had no similar problem since. All I could think of was how busy he was, his first day in heaven, and yet he took the time to comfort me and ask for healing for my wife.