We received this letter in our email. The author wishes to remain anonymous.
Hello. Maybe someone will find my little story about help from St. Seraphim useful, or maybe someone will publish it to give support to those like me. It’s useful to share such things. I’m not going to introduce myself.
For many years, from early childhood, I suffered from severe asthma attacks. Inhalers weren’t particularly useful, and I often couldn’t use them. Even adults didn’t have other means to relieve asthma in those days. Cold air, brisk walking, frolicking, running, and any draughts led to attacks. In general, I lived with them until a certain time, sometimes not knowing if I would wake up in the morning… In fact, even with inhalers and temporary relief, this condition is exhausting, and you feel like a fish catching air on dry land.
I went to Diveyevo once, either from curiosity or for a change of scenery. But I went. I stayed for a while and went on some excursions. I explored the surroundings and tried to fill myself with the spirit of this place. And of course, I managed to catch a cold; and of course, I knew how it would turn out. But there was nothing to be done. I wasn’t able to get any earlier tickets, and there were still several events and services ahead; and of course, the spring. The spring, the spring I thought (naively, not knowing what feelings I would experience there). I won’t write long.
I went with a group, everyone dipped into the spring, and it came my turn, but I couldn’t do it. I was afraid, and that was that. The cold took my breath away, I lost my composure, and my legs wouldn’t obey. Basically, I don’t even remember how, through sniffling, tears, and panic, I managed to plunge into the water. By the evening, according to the usual scenario, I was already suffocating and was plunged into all the charm of the world of asthmatics.
Then, on the way home, I was grumbling about the spring and in general about the emotional upheaval. What I want to say is that this was the last attack in my life, and I’ve gone many years now without asthma. I noticed it when shortly after the trip no attack suddenly appeared when it should have, according to all the laws of longstanding asthma. Only later did I connect it with Batiushka Seraphim, having been perplexed for a long time about why my sickness would have receded. Traces of the sickness remained, of course, and I sometimes feel a little discomfort. Now I only rarely remember that there is such a sickness in the world, and I sympathize with those who struggle with it…
And here’s the second story. Years later I became ill again, with pain in my head. Basically, it was pain and more pain. Everyone has some kind of pain; everyone takes medicine. But the pain started getting out of control, and I started gradually going crazy. Going to the store, for example, seemed like torture. Household chores, even light ones, seemed like a trial, and sometimes there was nothing left in my head except thoughts about the pain. Sometimes there was despair, tears, hopelessness, and an understanding that little remains of ordinary life. People around me said I was exaggerating and that I shouldn’t pay it any mind (valuable advice). Doctors said I wasn’t sick, and psychiatrists said I had to close the gestalts and learn to listen to myself.
Basically, from all of this—from helplessness, from the lack of understanding from others, from not knowing what needed to be treated, I felt a greater darkness in my soul. I took pills by the fistful, tearing through bottles of painkillers but they slowly stopped helping, and fear overcame me. And then one wonderful day, I got the idea that I should visit Diveyevo. I don’t remember why, but suddenly I wanted to go. But, of course, my little head gave me no rest. And then, once again, the pain, of course, completely overcame me during a service… How I wanted to weep from helplessness. And despair began to cloud my mind.
I’ll say that I’m not a great person of prayer, and in my own words I began entreating St. Seraphim, in my room, and in church, and on the road, and I thought I wouldn’t leave the saint until he helped me. The days passed, but the pain remained, of course. To be honest, there are lots of problems and sicknesses in my family, but I was ashamed to ask for everything. So I asked to leave everything else but to take away the pain that gave me no rest—if not forever, then at least for a time. And the circumstances of my life didn’t allow me to just sit at the window and suffer all day—I had to work, to help my husband. I didn’t want to be a painful burden to others. Of course I plunged into the spring, remembering the previous help from St. Seraphim, and I was scared again. I lost my breath again, I panicked, and some women helped me get out; but I thought: If you ask Batiushka, then you have to be brave and not whine.
I went to all the saints that were in the monastery, to all the relics, entreating their help. I walked around the monastery and asked every saint to help. I helped with obediences (as many as I could), hoping that if I helped as much as I could, then they’d help me too. I bought some dried bread from St. Seraphim’s “kettle.”
This is what I want to say. A few days after arriving back home, this pain PASSED. Other pain and problems remain—I have to endure them. But those pains are gone, and I believe they won’t be back. In general, I realized that the saints are near, and you don’t have to go far. If you ask in moderation and for the good, if you try to fix your life with small steps, then God sees this, pities you, and comes to help. The saints were also once ordinary people and they look at us with compassion, understanding our sorrows. And they joyfully come to help us, and all we have to do is regret our sins and ask for something other than riches and good fortune. This is far from all the help I’ve felt from saints in my life, and I’ll write about them too sometime.
Quick-to-hear St. Seraphim, thank you for helping us all.