The laying on of hands can be accomplished in many ways.
Berna, our Irish correspondent over in County Kildare, recaptures 40 year old memories from when she lived in the US and was healed by, among other things, a poke and a laugh and sassy red underwear:
I was in hospital for a kidney infection which resulted in the need for emergency removal of a damaged right kidney.
When I woke up after the operation and heard what had been done, I cried. I cried through breakfast, lunch and dinner. I cried when the doctors came on their rounds. I was inconsolable – I was sure that this was my death-knell. No one could tell me otherwise.
The head nurse, a rather frightening Catholic nun, scolded me for being so down and out. That made me cry too. I cried when my husband came to visit, cried when friends came as well. I was a fountain of tears.
One day a small black woman who was a cleaner in the hospital came by and took a rest from her labors on the chair next to my bed. She began to chat about her life. I was absorbed by her story: it wasn’t an easy life but she seemed happy. Her health wasn’t the best, but she had good friends in her life, including a boyfriend she loved.
One day she got to talking about buying underwear, cotton for everyday but sassy red silk ones for when she went out with her boyfriend. I was intrigued by her casual chat on the matter and forgot to cry. After all, she would hardly tell such a story to a dying woman, would she?
As I began to feel better I was encouraged to get out of bed and take brief walks down the corridor each day. I was very protective of my brokenness, and would tilt sideways to protect my wounded right side. One of the younger doctors came walking behind me and poked me, none too gently, on my wounded side. “Straighten up please”, he said with a laugh. That for me was another clue that I wasn’t really broken.
A final thing to convince me were the words of my GP, who came by almost every day to see how I was progressing. At the time my husband and I were ready to sign final papers in adoption proceedings, and I was very concerned about telling the Adoption Agency about my operation. I asked him what they would do if they found out. His forceful reply? “To hell with them, don’t tell them.” He made me laugh.
My child, my daughter, is now in her forties, and here am I reasonably healthy and sane, thanks to those good people who helped me believe that I had a life ahead of me when I was despairing.
They touched me in ways they will never know, and after all these years I still smile when I remember them.