It was late. The conference was about over. Most of the attendees had packed their bags of materials, checked out of their hotels and were headed for the final get together. I was one of the last to leave. There was a party in the main lobby and people were saying their good-byes, exchanging e-mails and all the “I’ll keep in touches” and “call me’s”
There was one other option. According to the map it was in a separate building that was across the campus. It was titled, “B.O.-Alternative Healing”, without a description of the secession. No one I had talked to knew anything about it and there were jokes about how it probably stank anyway so why go. I loosened my tie, unbuttoned my suit jacket and hunched over the railing that over-looked the lobby. I watched the crowd of PhD’s, ED.’s and M.S.’ mull around carrying their drinks and plates of cold cuts, cubed cheeses, salads, brownies and cookies. I took my plane ticket from my pocket and considered what to do. I had four hours till my flight and the airport was only 20 minutes away.
I considered being social and just hanging out, but something kept on nagging me. I looked at my five pound bag of manuals and materials and thought about the effort of carrying all of it across campus for secession that I didn’t know anything about.
“Alternative healing, no less, probably some new age, crystal crap.” No thank you.
“No.” I said out loud.
I made my way to the elevator that would bring me to the lobby and alcohol and a plate full of sweets. I’d sugar up, and get a nice buzz from a few rum and cokes and call it DONE.
The elevator opened onto the lobby and I pushed my way past the people who were trying to get in.
I walked over to the line at the bar and grabbed a brownie off a plate as a server passed by me.
I was…satisfied. It had been a full three days: research review; the secession on the latest I-Pod apps for the severely challenged that would help them communicate faster, quicker and in new ways. Delicious. Made me salivate. The brain research for the autistic had been particularly heady and the digitals of the neural connections examined over the last six months had far reaching applications in regards to the learning rate. Sensory monitors collecting minute by minute data without interrupting a training secession would make digital recordings obsolete. My head swam with possibilities. I lifted my bag as the line inched forward. Long line.
Another server passed by me with a plate of lox and bagels. Onions, tomato, cucumber wafted by. Stinky. B.O. There were about twenty people ahead of me. Why would they title a secession
‘B.O.’ without any description? This was an educators’ conference. Professionals; teachers, psychologists, brain researchers. Ground breaking research. Everything had a description…except this secession. Why?
I looked at the line one more time. What the hell. I picked up my bag and left.
The walk across campus took about 20 minutes. I followed the map directions and ended up at the…chapel ?! This couldn’t be right.
This was the campus chapel. I looked at the cross over the door and was about to leave when it suddenly opened. A girl about fifteen stood there with one of the prettiest smiles I’d ever seen. She was dressed in denim jeans and a black tee-shirt.
“Hi,” she said.
“Hi…um..I must have read the map wrong.” I held up the campus map. “Sorry.” I turned to go.
“You’re here for the B.O. workshop?” She asked.
I turned to face her. “Uh...yeah..”
“Right place then.” She said. “Come in.” She pushed open the door and I walked in.
“Here, let me take those,” she said, indicating my bag.
“Uh..no..that’s o.k. I’ll just carry them. Are you sure I’m in the right place?”
“Yep. And really you won’t need those here.” She pointed to a small area. “We even have small suit cases and carriers with wheels that you can use, if you’ll still want to.” I looked. There were about five cases already on carriers. “Everything fits nice and neat and you can just wheel it all away.” She smiled again and I went with it.
“Sure… o.k. What the hell,” I said.
The smile disappeared and she winced. “Please...”
She grabbed my bag and took it to one of the suit cases. The case had a label on it. She pulled out a pen from one of her pockets.
She wrote it on the label, gently put my bag in the case and closed it. She took it to one of the carriers and secured it with two small bungee cords. She stacked it against the others.
“Come on,” She said. She hooked her arm like an escort, and led me past twenty rows of pews, to the small crowd at front. There were about twenty people there. I recognized the faces of about five from the conference. They had taken off their ties, removed their jackets and looked curious.
The rest of the crowd was different. There were young and old; men, women, teens and two children, a boy and girl about five years old. There was also a girl on crutches. She was heavy and supported all her weight on the two supports. The crowd looked like a backyard barbecue group; relaxed, happy and peaceful.
The young girl, Sarah, introduced me.
“This is Jerry,” She said.
I was introduced to each one, whose names I don’t remember now. But they were all very friendly and all very smiley. Real smiles, like they were really happy to see me. Weird.
A young man in his thirties approached me and the rest of them moved aside.
“Hi, Jerry, I’m Bill, the pastor.” He shook my hand, it was warm and smooth. “So glad you could come,” He said.
“Thanks.” I said. “Can you tell me what this is about? There wasn’t a description in the conference brochure and I’m curious.”
He looked at me a moment. “Teacher, right?”
“Teacher trainer. Staff developer.” I answered. “I teach people how to teach.”
“Ah…” Bill said, “Perfect.” He smiled and then said to the crowd.
“Let’s get started,” He began to usher the crowd into the pews. They all started to move except for the the girl on crutches, she stayed close to the front.
“Can I just ask…?” I called to him.
“You’ll see,” he said.
“Let’s open up in praise and worship,” He said to the congregation as he walked to the pulpit in the front.
I moved into the third pew and watched and waited. Then Bill began to speak; a prayer.
“Father God, we thank you right now for your presence in this place. It’s not by accident that you have gathered us. We thank you for the presence of your Holy Spirit, and the blood of your son, Jesus, and most of all we thank you for your love. We worship you, Father, we give you thanks and praise for all that you have done and all that you are about to do.”
Bill then touched an I- pod and music filled the chapel. A song called,’ Give thanks,’ began.
I turned and looked at the crowd. Most of them were standing with their eyes shut and their arms raised. I began to salivate.
I closed my eyes. I stood there listening to the music and began to feel a wave wash over me. It was the most peaceful thing I have ever felt in my life. I began to drift off and felt weak in my knees. I started to fall but suddenly felt hands on my back and shoulders holding me up. A feeling of warmth spread through my body and my visual field filled with red and orange light. “What is this?” I whispered.
Then I heard a voice say, “Believe only.” I felt my body tense. The voice was in my head. It was a whisper, a breeze..unlike any voice I ever heard before. “Believe only,” it said again. I relaxed and let the breeze and the feeling of peace wash over me.
The music faded out and I just stood there.
I opened my eyes slowly.
Bill was standing there with his hands raised over the girl.
With his eyes closed he called out, “Father, God. You are the God of Healing. It says in your word in Mark 5:22 that we need “Be not afraid and believe only.” So Father, we believe and call on you as the God of healing, and ask, touch your daughter with a healing touch in the name of your Son, Jesus. “
Bill then placed his hands on her head and began to say..sounds..It sounded like gibberish, mumbling. But then the girl started to shake. It looked like a seizure. “Pray in your heavenly language,” Bill directed the people. And there was a burst of these sounds from the congregation. Different sounds, syllables, sounds, humming, yet the same, like they were all connected. I couldn’t explain it. I could only sense it. The girl shook some more and then she dropped the crutches… and stood.
The people began to shout and clap their hands.
“Walk,” said Bill. “Walk, and let the power of God be made manifest.” She stumbled but didn’t fall. Step by step she moved. Slowly. Unsure at first, but gaining confidence, strength with each try. She moved. She walked. She made it to the first pew and sat down. She was crying. The crowd clapped, sang and prayed.
I closed my eyes. Warmth filled my body. White light flashed in my visual field. Then the breeze, the whisper, “Believe Only.”
All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Joseph Trance.
Published on e-Stories.org on 06/24/2011.