Apr 4, 2020 filed under Hope.

island in stormy sea with beams of mercy

I saw my friend Bobbie at Mass this morning for the first time since she started cancer treatment. I sat next to her during the Chaplet of Mercy afterward.

She greeted me with a joyful smile. Her face, under a hot pink baseball cap, glowed with a spiritual radiance that you see in nuns and in people who have been very ill. She had the calm gravity of one who has looked long into the Abyss and decided not to jump.

Bobbie and I ended the Chaplet, as always, this way: “Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.”

Bobbie’s husband was waiting in the car outside to bring her to their umpteenth visit to Johns Hopkins cancer center. On the way out of church, I asked her how she was able to still hope in God when things happen in a way she wouldn’t have chosen, like cancer.

She looked at me seriously for a moment. Then she smiled, and seemed to pity me for not knowing the secret. “Well, I would never have had all this help and this love in my life otherwise,” she said. This wasn’t a fake answer. She had found the pearl of great price and treasured every moment of the love that poured on her in extra measure in her vulnerability.

Then she added, “But it’s because I have God. Without Him, it would be horrible. But it’s not me. It’s Him that’s doing this.”

Maybe we are presented two choices in a crisis: to look down and see the black hole of despair, or to look up and see a break in the clouds where God’s rays of mercy and healing stream down. A vision of hopeless hell or the heaven of love. Turbulence, pain, and fear are all real, but they are all passing away. Only love is eternal. Bobbie has chosen love, a beautiful choice that warms everyone who sees her.

Love always,

This originally appeared here in 2017, but I thought revisiting Bobbie’s trust and hope would be welcome just now!

10 Responses to “Hoping in the Midst of Pain”

  1. Rose Folsom


    Thank you, Rose, for your wonderful ministry.
    Jim and Cheryl

    Rose, as always I find so much hope and uplifting and your letters! Thank you for what you do. I hope that you are safe and healthy and blessed!

    Hello Rose,
    Happy & Blessed Palm Sunday!! Yes. A very inspiring story shared by Bobbie. As the Apostle tells us, faith, hope, and love, & the strongest of these is love! Love conquers all even death!

    Christ our Lord has led the way for us into his eternal love!
    Peace in Christ,

  2. Erin Benbennick

    Thank you, Rose, for this beautiful reminder to trust God and bask in His love at all times.

    Praying that you have a blessed Palm Sunday.

  3. Diane Reinke

    Thank you, Rose, for this uplifting message of courage and hope.—-Diane Isabelle

  4. Leah

    Thank you, Rose. I’m trying to use the graces That are so abundant right now. Hope I’m not wasting any!
    With hope in my heart and gratitude for your emails.
    Prayers for all

  5. Maria Hamm

    Thanks Rose– as i wait for my husband to come home, shower and go off to work after being with a patient since early morning– i thank God for all he has given us– our health, and our ability to help others! We are in his hands.

    • Rose Folsom

      Yes, I’m with you trying to keep my mind on gratitude and not fear. Being very careful, though –prudence is from God; fear is not.

  6. Pat Friedhoff

    A beautiful story. And I have experienced a similar love when I was in chemotherapy. So many people extended their love to me that would not have if I had not been in chemotherapy. Their love sustained me and made me realize how much God loved me as well.