One night, in late 1995 or early 1996 (I don’t remember whether it was shortly before my mother died or shortly afterwards), I was standing in our old house looking out the window of our tiny spare room. Below, wandering down the little road, was an enormous skunk. I wondered why it was out in the snow instead of hibernating somewhere.
I was at this window talking to Jesus about cancer, my mother’s cancer, my mother’s suffering. I talked to Him about His Passion and His sufferings and His pain. I was making it clear to Him, though, that he hadn’t ever suffered from cancer in particular, so He really couldn’t know exactly what that was like. We chatted for a while…which really means, I was doing all the talking.
As I started to move away from the window and towards the doorway to go downstairs, my body was stopped by an outer force. I saw a kind of greyish, white cloud around my body and all of a sudden I wasn’t in the spareroom anymore. My body, I’m pretty sure, was still in the room, but “I” wasn’t. I knew I was in the Garden of Gethsemane with Jesus. I didn’t see the Garden, I didn’t see Jesus, but I knew He had taken me there and He was with me. In whatever time it was, a few seconds or a few minutes, He gave me a small taste and a big understanding of what He had experienced. When I came back to “me” being in the spareroom, I understood that in some mysterious way, perhaps out of time and space but definitely within His own humanity, he had somehow experienced every single thing that it is possible to experience as a human being – every single disease, every single suffering, every single evil. Everything. I was entirely filled with shame and remorse, and yet knew He loved me and wanted me to understand.
I hadn’t planned on sharing this tonight, but when I heard this child’s beautiful voice and the part of the lyrics where it talks about Jesus having experienced everything, I felt like He was asking me to help make sure everyone knows the truth of this. There is nothing He has not known in a personal way, so there is nothing you cannot bring to Him.