The Carmelite Nun

 I could have given her more respect and expressed my gratitude deeply if I had asked for her name. I was in total mess that time, mentally and physically. I couldn’t even recall how I ended up in the footstep of that small church away from the noise of the city and in the middle of a barren land.

I kneeled on the pew near the side door of the church. It was a quiet afternoon. I was the only one around and those statues that seemed to be joining me in sad state otherwise they are staring at me with judging eyes. Knelt there for quite a while until my knees hurt. Stepped out by the side door and I saw a small room that looked like an information room with its door ajar. I was badly in need of an answer from someone who knows more about the subject I want to talk about.  I took a peek in the room and a young boy, in his twenties, saw me. He told me that the nuns are having their afternoon breaks and I could come back before 5 o’clock that afternoon. I apologised for pulling him away from doing his chores. He might have seen some desperation in my eyes or maybe he was just simply hospitable as what a true Christian should be. He offered me a seat and said he would ask the nun who was doing some decoration in the adoration room. I was left on my own for a short while. What am I thinking? What will I say to the nun? I’m not sure where to start.

I didn’t notice her standing beside me. I was a bit startled when she spoke. “How are you?”, her voice soft and low. I was going to stand up but she motioned her hand telling me to stay seated. She sat on the chair on my right hand side. She pushed it so that she will be slightly facing me. “What can I do for you?” her voice ever so soft. I told her I am searching for answers. Then I started with how I lost my mother just few weeks ago, the questions that churn in my mind every second of the day and even worst at night when it felt like I was the only one awake in this massive lonely world.



I told her many things. Regrets, doubts, failures, my own beliefs. But mainly I think I talked about my doubts in God and His existence. I told her how I feel so forgotten and so unrecognised. I was talking between sobbing and snorting. Noticing that I have ran out of tissue paper, she handed me a plain white, crisp, nicely folded handkerchief. I refused to take it because it would be embarrassing to wipe my tears and my nose with that blessed hanky. She insisted.

She said very gently, holding my hand, that I am one of those lucky ones. Amazed, I asked her, “Lucky? Me? How?”. She said because of my doubts, I am always searching for Him. My search will bring me to places where I might not have the answers instantly but the process will bring healing at the same time. And with healing comes understanding which apparently gives way to God to enter my life in subtle and mysterious way.

I started with those words. Every day I searched for answers, I searched for my place, if there’s one, in His heart. It wasn’t easy, the journey wasn’t comfortable and pleasing but I’m sure I’ll get there. I wish I knew that nun’s name because she helped me start my healing and I want to thank her because I feel that I’m almost near my destination. I can see from where I am now the answer. In her own special way, she was God-sent.

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