By Christine Licato
When I first brainstormed about what has happened thus far in my 25--almost 26 years--of life that constitutes as a “Jesus Moment”, I embarrassingly was a bit stumped. Well not stumped, but nothing immediately sprang to mind. For myself, I really haven’t had that experience when I knew without a doubt, beyond all reason, tingling-soul-on-fire moment where I knew that God absolutely exists. Honestly, it used to really bum me out big time (especially in times like last night at Faith Sharing where we have to share out loud our Jesus moments in respect to “metanoia”).
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have indeed been through a bunch of experiences, good and bad in my life. I lost both my grandpas, fell in love with a Mormon guy and even moved away from the island. All in all, I think I have had a few Jesus moments but never realized it at the time. Since I am the kind of person that learns the hard way, the Jesus moment most likely has happened, but I didn’t recognize it as a “moment” until later down the line.
A really big “Real Life Jesus Moment” for me was in 2008. I had just finished my freshman year at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. I was home for the summer just hanging out with friends, being care-free and planning my next travel adventure. I have lived with my grandmother--Nanay, as I affectionately call her--my whole life. Nanay is the one who always went to church every Sunday. Every morning and night, Nanay prays from her little Filipino book of prayers. Whenever I ask her what she wants for birthdays and Christmas, the answer is always (in Filipino “Nanay” accent) “Never mind! God, God will provide!”
One day, my mom calls me and says that my grandmother had to go to the ER because her medications had been mixed. I went to the ER thinking it was no big deal; she was going to be fine. People close to me don’t die, that only happens to other people. Before you knew it, the doctors told us that she had a major infection in her colon. This infection needed to immediately be treated and removed which meant that she had to have surgery. Soon after this, she fell into a coma which decreased the chances of her survival to 30%.
I remember my parents and me going to the funeral home in Mililani to set up her grave site. Before she went in for surgery, I crouched next to her and told her to not leave me. On the day of her surgery, my parents and I parked our car in the parking lot behind Pali Momi in Pearl City and I prayed. I prayed and prayed for I think almost 3 hours, the duration of her surgery. I fell asleep praying. I asked God to not take her away from me. I promised to be a better person if he saved her. All I kept thinking was, I hope she doesn’t die thinking I was mad at her or didn’t love her.
When I woke up, the doctors told us that she had made it out and was doing okay. Jesus moment! While in the ICU, I would stay there for hours and watch her levels to make sure they were normal. I would overhear the doctors talk about her and constantly remark what a “fighter” she was. Later on while she was in rehab, I’d bring her Jack in the Box (her idea, not mine!) and go with her to Senior Day Bingo while she cleaned out all the prizes. She had to go through physical rehabilitation and endure many lonely nights in the hospital but she made it through.
Today she has a colostomy bag, pacemaker and still rides in style to church every weekend. I didn’t realize it until way later but now I know that God really heard my prayer that day. I really believe that my faith in Jesus, an awesome surgeon and prayers really saved her that day. I am truly blessed that my Nanay is still here in my life. I just cannot imagine coming home from a long day and not seeing my Nanay sewing in her room and asking me what I want for dinner. Now that is what you call a Jesus moment! Hopefully the next time I have another one; it won’t take me that long to figure it out!