I would like to share with you my recent experience of life threatening illness and how the discipline of meditation has helped me going through this difficult time.
Around mid of July 2014, I felt a sharp pain on my head and heaviness on my right eye. At first, I thought it was just a migraine attack.The following morning, I decided to see a doctor. The doctor found no abnormality and told me that it might be caused by exhaustion. In the next three days, the pain was still persisted and not getting better even after taking pain-killer and rest.
I went to see a neurologist and he consulted me to an ophthalmologist for suspected glaucoma. The ophthalmologist said that there was nothing wrong with my eyes.
By chance, I still managed to attend “Preventing Stroke Seminar” held at the Stella Maris Parish. The next day, when I woke up and I felt very sick. I could still say my morning prayer and meditation before I went back again to bed to get more rest. Suddenly I felt a severe pain in my head and my right eye. I cried out for help. My daughter, a senior medical student, came and checked my blood pressure. She gave me another pain-killer pill. When I woke up about 10:00 o’clock, I was shocked to find out that my right eyelid was swelling and it could not be opened. Since my husband and my daughter went to Sunday Mass so there was nobody at home. I forced myself to grasp my mobile phone and took picture of my face and sent it to my sister, who also attended the seminar. She called me up and reminded me that the picture I sent was similar with one of the pictures shown at the slide presentation during the seminar. She urged me to see immediately Dr. Julius, the speaker of the seminar.
Seeing my right eyelid closed and Dr Julius asked me to have CT-angiography. After examining the result,he told me that I have an aneurysm that obstructing the wall of blood vessel to the nerve of the right eye. It is very critical, because of risk of rupture – this can lead to severe hemorrhage, and other complications, including death.
An emergency operation was scheduled that evening. I was quite surprised to find that I was so calm and at peace when I was told that I needed an immediate head surgery. Suddenly, my favorite psalm came to my mind: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me”. I was in total surrender, no panic, and no fear. Later, my whole family got together and we prayed for a successful operation.
On the way to the operating room, I started saying Our Father, Hail Mary and keep on saying Ma-ra-na-tha. I came around the next morning when I was already in the ICU room. I felt that I was surrounded by His presence and deep inside I firmly believed that “He keep on watching over me”. I thank Him for His grace and presence during the critical moment that I just went through.
After a week, the doctor said that I was now allowed to discharge from the hospital. He admitted he was taken aback with my quick recovery. I told him that I am practicing Christian meditation and many people prayed for me; my family, my meditation community in Indonesia, including our world community director, Fr Laurence Freeman OSB, who was at that time leading a retreat and John Main Seminar in Chicago. He asked all participants to pray for me. I always believe in the amazing power of prayer.
In the follow-up visit to his office, he told me that the recovery process was very good. Then he said with a smile in his face: “It must be the benefit of your Christian meditation”.
And started from August 2014 , I am back with my daily routines. I thank God for His love and grace for me, especially in difficult time that I just went through. And what amazed me was that my discipline of meditation had showed its fruits just in time when I needed most, when I really needed help and peace of mind while “I walked through the valley of the shadow of death”.