Just one look at Kathy Chomitz makes it clear that she’s blessed with an inner tranquility that comes from beyond this world. But it hasn’t always been that way. Having grown up in an abusive home, Kathy long struggled with trying to feel “normal,” eventually experiencing a sense of despair so debilitating that she literally wanted to die. “I had contemplated ending my life almost my whole life,” says Kathy, a registered nurse with 19 years’ experience in the ICU and almost 4 years in palliative care. “But something–God–kept me plugging along, trying the best I could to find a reason for staying in this life.” Nine years ago, however, Kathy’s mental health hit bottom. “I couldn’t do anything but sleep, eat, and contemplate taking my life,” she says. “The only thing that kept me from acting on it was my children. I had worked so hard to become the parent to them that my parents had not been for me, and had come so far in my crusade to end the family abuse in my lifetime, that I was not about to cause them the trauma of losing their mother at her own hand. I did not even want them to know I was hurting. Their lives had to be innocent and untouched. So I struggled to become well, and slowly crawled out of my hole.”
Even during that time of crisis, Kathy held fast to her faith in a God who cares. “I never believed in hell and always knew that God was only about love,” she says. Raised in the Baptist church, she spent much of her life searching for an expression of God that fit her, exploring many denominations of Christianity and investigating Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, and even Paganism. “I studied Edgar Cayce’s teachings as well,” Kathy says. But everything she came across in her spiritual search fell short of what she knew in her heart. “I believed what Jesus said about all of us being able to do what he did and more. And I believed if my faith was strong enough, if I remained open and followed guidance, I would find the answers I sought.”
She began encountering references to A Course In Miracles in her explorations, and eventually came across a copy at a bookstore in her little town of Cobourg, Ontario on the shore of Lake Ontario. “They had only one copy! So I bought it,” says Kathy, who has been married to her husband Dave for 22 years and has three children: Michael, 20, Grace, 18, and Natalie, 16. “But it took five years for me to open it. When I finally did, I knew I’d been given my path.” Consumed with her discovery, Kathy read through the entire Text in just under a year and then completed the Workbook the following year.
That was six years ago. Since then, she has found support for her work with the Course from the teachers and writings of the Circle of Atonement, where she recently became a member of the online Circle Course Community. There, she immediately connected with Mary Anne, with whom she is now engaged in a teacher-pupil relationship1. “I’ve always been interested in healing the way Jesus did it,” Kathy says, “and have been trained in Therapeutic Touch, Reiki, spiritual healing, and other so-called energy therapies. But these, too, left me feeling there is something missing. My longing now is to learn how to integrate my need to heal and be healed with what the Course is teaching me.”
But at the time she first discovered the Course, Kathy still struggled with mental health issues. “I felt that my emotions, although they were certainly much better, were ruling my life and undermining my ability to realize my full potential,” she says. “I was seeing a therapist every two weeks–always finding emotional baggage to work on–all the while studying the Course and trying to make it work for me.”
Always in God’s Heart
At the beginning of 2009, as Kathy rededicated herself to her work with the Course by studying the Text and focusing each day on the concept of resting in God, she could not possibly have foreseen the enormity of the changes in store for her this year. On the evening of February 11th, her 16-year-old daughter, Natalie, was rushed by ambulance to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto–thankfully just an hour away–with acute liver failure. Natalie was placed immediately at number one on the transplant list for all of Canada. “I watched helplessly as Natalie started going into shock and her blood work kept getting worse,” Kathy says. “And in spite of my spiritual beliefs and my training as a nurse, I was an emotional and mental wreck. I forgot how to pray. I tried to remember how to ask for a miracle, all the while thinking that I was somehow missing the point of what a miracle is. I couldn’t picture her as a perfect creation of God and only light. I could only lay my hands on her through the side rails of the bed. Finally, all I could think of to do was to just let go and rest in God. I handed my daughter to the Holy Spirit, willing for Him to take care of everything.”
Kathy immediately experienced a sense of release and comfort, although it lasted only a few seconds before she was again back in the grips of despair. Then a social worker came and spent an hour talking with and listening to her. “During that time, I actually did attain some peace and felt that I was once again able to maintain my sense of calm,” she says. “Soon after that, at around noon on the 12th, we were told that if nothing changed, Natalie would probably have only 36 hours to live.”
But then something happened that can only be considered miraculous: Natalie began to get better. “For reasons still unknown to us, her blood work started to improve dramatically,” Kathy says. “By the 16th, she was off the transplant list. And on the 20th, she came home.”
In the weeks following Natalie’s astounding recovery, Kathy had trouble sorting out what had happened and what its significance was. What did it mean that her cherished daughter had been so unbearably near death one instant, and so inexplicably and instantaneously healed the next? “When Natalie got sick and then was healed, I was very frightened initially,” Kathy says. “This was not something that happened in my world. I had no frame of reference for miraculous healings. But then I began to experience a sense of knowing. I began to understand why Natalie was healed: We had been shown the power of the mind, even in that one instant! That one instant of letting go was enough–even though I quickly snatched back the problem so I could watch over it.”
As the months passed, she came to realize that Natalie’s body wasn’t the only thing that had been healed by this miracle. Kathy, too, experienced a miraculous healing-one of the mind, heart, and spirit. “I haven’t been able to put the sheer magnitude of my healing experience into words,” she says. “I have no need for my therapist anymore. I have no emotional issues that are keeping me from a normal life. I am able to hold down my full-time job and be a mother to my children and a wife to my husband. The whole experience affirmed for me that this spiritual path we’re on is definitely worth disciplined study and eventual mastery. The way it happened has made me look at my belief system, question my actions, and re-evaluate my spiritual habits.”
Kathy says that although people who knew her before the healing haven’t mentioned noticing anything different about her, she has experienced subtle changes in situations and interactions with her family, friends, and coworkers. “There is a new genuine calmness and happiness present in me,” she says. “I have always presented a calm, unflappable facade, never letting anyone see how unsure of myself I was. Now that demeanor is no longer an act. I am truly serene, even in situations that formerly would have caused me much hidden distress. When Natalie was so close to death, I was forced to face up to my lack of control. I had no choice but to let God take over. It was then that I realized the peace of God is in me all the time.”
Since Natalie’s miracle, Kathy’s dedication to the Course’s teachings has deepened immeasurably. “I’m understanding the Text more clearly, and it seems to be resonating deep in my heart,” she says. “I have been practicing forgiveness every morning, truly trying to see everyone I meet the way Jesus sees me. I have definitely changed. Through my daughter’s miraculous physical healing, I have had such a shift in my perspective. I have realized that I am exactly where God wants me. I do not have to look for what I am supposed to do, for He will guide me. I have to just be open to His will and be willing to go there. I have been given an amazing gift of healing, and I will never be the same. I have been given back my awareness of always being in God’s heart, surrounded by His Love.
A teacher-pupil relationship is one in which a more experienced student of the Course acts as a personal teacher or mentor, shepherding a newer student on his or her journey with the Course. Although both are equal as holy Sons of God, the teacher at this point has a deeper understanding and experience, and the goal is to share this with the pupil so that he or she also becomes equal in understanding and experience.
The hallmark of the teacher-pupil relationship is that it is one in which the teacher and pupil join together for learning purposes, thereby inviting the Holy Spirit to step in and make of the relationship a holy relationship, in which each can look upon the other as the guiltless Son of God. In the Manual for Teachers, the Course sets out this relationship as the way in which newer students really learn to walk the path of the Course, integrating its teachings into their lives. It becomes the way in which learning is passed on from generation to generation of Course students, thereby anchoring a strong tradition of the Course in the world.
On a more personal note: my relationships with my pupils are a constant source of blessing and joy for me. I am excited about passing on to my pupils all that I have, so that they may have it also. I love the way in which the Holy Spirit works in and through our relationships and us, always knowing what’s in our best interests, always taking things exactly where He knows they need to go, always using our meetings for His holy purposes of healing. In every meeting with my pupils, I learn over and over again a basic lesson of the Course: that giving and receiving are the same, that there is no real difference between my pupils and me, and that I have no interests or goal apart from theirs.