Karen Baldonado-Hensley had loved Ronnie for fifteen years, although he had hemophilia and life was difficult. "His life had been racked with illness and operations," Karen says, "and he was HIV positive too. In 2000 he got extremely ill and we knew that the end was not far away.
".In January of 2001, Ronnie entered Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina for what everyone suspected would be the last time. Family members gathered, taking turns visiting Ronnie in the Intensive Care Unit. At one point Karen left his side, walked down to the waiting room and said goodbye to his brother and sister-in-law, who left on a brief break. There was only one other person in the waiting room, Karen says, an African-American man dressed as a minister. Their eyes met, Karen's worried, the minister's serene.
"I see that you are a very religious person," the minister said to her.Karen had always tried to be religious. Now, of course, she felt abandoned, but that didn't mean that God had forgotten her.
"Yes," she told the minister, wondering how he knew, "I am religious."."I didn't mean to eavesdrop," he went on, "but I heard you say that your loved one is dying. Would you allow me to come into his room and pray for him?".
"Oh, yes," Karen answered. "I would very much like you to do that.".The two walked back to Ronnie's room where the minister took out a small bottle of oil, made the sign of the cross with it on Ronnie's forehead. Then he placed his hand on Ronnie's head, reached across and took Karen's hand and began to pray.
Karen had been in the Army, exposed to many languages, and she recognized quite a few. But this was a language she had never heard. It seemed beautiful, almost heavenly. When this prayer ended, the minister prayed another, this time in English. Karen hardly absorbed the comforting words, but she felt a heavenly peace settle over her, all around her. Her sorrow seemed to have receded in some way.
Instead, she felt joy in the room.The minister ended his prayer, then smiled at Karen. "You know, I don't have anyone here in the hospital," he said. "I was just looking for a place of peace and quite and somewhere to rest today." He smiled at Karen,and then quietly left the room. "Thank you," she whispered to him.
His simple prayer had somehow given her the courage and peace she had longed to feel.When Ronnie's brother and sister-in-law, Frances, returned to the waiting area awhile later, Karen told them how much the inister's prayer meant to her. "What man?" Frances asked."The black gentleman who was sitting on the sofa in the waiting area when you left.
You must have seen him."."Karen, there wasn't anyone in there but me and Ricky," Frances said. "You know I would have noticed a black man." ("We are predominantly a white family," Karen explains, "but Frances is black and probably would have noticed someone of her race in the room.
")."Yes there was." Karen insisted, but her brother-in-law Ricky broke in. "I was here too, Karen," he pointed out. "And there was No One in the waiting room but us.
".Today Karen believes that the minister was an angel sent to her from God to let her know that Ronnie was going to be going to heaven, and that he was going to be just fine there. (Perhaps the beautiful prayer was spoken in tongues, God's heavenly language.) "For several years after he passed on I would have 'dreams' where he spoke to me," Karen says.
"I don't think they were dreams at all---I think he was contacting me to let me know he was just fine and I could move on with my life and quit grieving." Eventually she was able to do that. "I miss Ronnie very much and always will," she says. But with the help of a special angel, Karen is doing fine..Joan Wester Anderson is a New York Times best-selling authors whose books on angels and miracles are extremely popular. Every other week she sends a true and unpublished story from her fikles to her readers on line.
Copyrighted 2006. For more stories of God's love, check the WhereAngelsWalk website at: http://www.joanwanderson.
By: Joan Wester Anderson