Wednesday, January 18, 2006

An unusual, unexpected evening

Tonight, I did something I have never in my life done before. I participated in a literal hands on prayer for healing. A few years ago, I couldn't imagine myself doing such a thing. Though I have sat with friends, holding their hands or my arm around their shoulder, praying for health, this was different. This was a group united in their concern for me and a recurrent, chronic health issue. There was no one there who claimed to have the power of healing. No one was asking for money. There were no claims that if healing didn't happen, it was because of lack of faith. There was no pressure to participate. These were people who have chosen to believe that God/dess has never stopped miracles. Some of these miracles are in the incredible design of the world in which we live. A miracle might be the peace one finds when life is falling apart, and there is no logical reason for the mind and spirit to be calm. A miracle might be finding how much we are loved when we are lost and trapped in loneliness and despair. A miracle could be the parting of a sea or a return of health for no apparent reason. These were people who have opened themselves to the miraculous in the ordinary, the rare and the unexplained.

I've always associated healing by faith with either television hucksters or religious charismatics overwhelmed by emotion and peer pressure. I've imagined wailing women with hair that hasn't been cut in years swooped into overdone piles on their heads, no makeup and overly long skirts, men in bad suits and worse toupees talking loudly and smacking people. That has been some snobbery on my part, some natural and understandable skepticism, and unfamiliarity. My religious life has been to approach things from the head first and let it soak in from there. Some of these people were executives and professionals still in the business casual attire which is the norm for this area. I know of multiple advanced degrees among the educational credentials in the room. The conversation preceding this prayer could just have easily been about the impact of St. Augustine's confessions or the Councils of Nicea as it was about healing. The ability to approach faith mind first was there, but another direction was chosen.

Still, this was still faith healing, something which has always triggered my BS meter. Healing was something that happened in the days of Jesus, in the days of the prophets. As someone who believes the Bible from a non-literal perspective, I've been able to accept that Jesus, both divine and human could heal miraculously. I could believe that He gave this gift to His followers with whom He lived. As a relatively intelligent and well read woman in the 21st century, I believed that gifts for healing were now what motivated people to go into medical professions and that would be where I would find what I sought for my health. I've felt that God/dess didn't have to be showy and often worked in everyday activities.

Tonight though, I sat in a chair, and people laid their hands on me and quietly prayed out loud, one by one, followed by a period of silence. I'm normally very particular about being touched. My intimacy and personal space boundaries are large, but this didn't feel intrusive. Physically, during the prayer and for about an hour afterwards, I felt unusually warm. It's difficult to describe, but the level of heat was comparable to that of a hot flash without the sweats and the discomfort. My illness didn't instantly disappear, and I didn't jump up shouting like one would see on some TV show. I am more comfortable, and I know that this could be due to some chemical release that comes from stepping into a new and somewhat scary experience (that every day presence of the miraculous thing). I don't expect to wake up tomorrow morning with my symptoms all gone, but I'm not going to eliminate that from possibility either.

What I do know for sure was that this was a step of faith. I opened a door of possibility and feel like I could open more.

7 Comments:

Blogger Gannet Girl said...

The experience of opening yourself to the possibility of faith is such an awesome experience.

January 19, 2006 6:57 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Sometimes I forget that not all believers have been through the same experiences that I have. (I guess a journey through Catholiism and Pentecostalism, ending in agnosticism may be unusual after all.) But it surprised me that you'd never gone through the ritual of "the laying on of hands" for healing. I appreciate your recounting of the experience.

January 19, 2006 9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice.

Paula
http://journals.aol.com/paulajlambert/PaulaLambert-Author

January 19, 2006 1:41 PM  
Blogger ckays1967 said...

I went to an alter call two years ago and selfishly (so I thought) asked for a prayer that my MS gets no worse...

My next MRI showed no new lesions and the ones that were there the year before were less "active." I like to believe it is all about God.

Good for you my dear. Good for you.

January 20, 2006 12:45 PM  
Blogger dreaminglily said...

About a year ago my grandma was very ill. No idea what it was it was like an extreme flu but it wouldn't go away. She went to church and one of the women there grabbed her into her arms and prayed fiercely for her, and the moment she was done praying some things changed. The heat like you talked about came over her, and I won't get into the nitty gritty details, but after a little while all her symptoms were gone.

I never really thought about being cured by hands on prayer from anything, but that... that made me think. My grandma's not the type of woman to make things like that up or exaggerate them.

I hope and pray that this did work for you. I really hope it did.

~Lily

January 21, 2006 10:58 AM  
Blogger Tammy said...

I went through a similar experience where there was a woman "hands on healer." I was sceptical too but she said something life changing, "you can not be healed because you won't let go of your illness." It was true, I had become my illness. The advice gave me my miracle by allowing me to not be consumed by the illness.

Thanks for reminding me :)

Very well written.

January 21, 2006 5:07 PM  
Blogger sunflowerkat said...

Both your entry and the comments are fascinating. I hope that your faith has led you to some relief.

January 22, 2006 7:37 PM  

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