a collection of steps

Archive for the ‘healing’ Category

The Unlived Life of Russell Stone, Part 4

In death, divorce, fear, fiction, healing, marriage, office, relationships, stress on May 9, 2011 at 2:03 pm

A Novelette

By Cheryl Courtney Semick

Rachel is on the hunt to find out who called Mrs. Stone. Somehow, Mrs. Stone had learned of her husband’s death before Rachel called, which normally wouldn’t be an issue, but in the case of the Stone’s, it is far more than an issue.

My anger rose to another level by the time I reached the first floor. I determined that whoever made that call will feel its full force.

“Hi Ms. Cox, is everything okay?” Tina, our facility receptionist, popped out of her chair at the sound of my heels grinding across the lobby’s ceramic tile.

“No, Tina, it is not,” I shot back as I marched past her desk toward Mr. Stone’s nursing unit. Angie would be my first victim. I heard Tina pick-up her phone as I rounded the corner, undoubtedly to warn the unit that I was on my way.

I spotted Angie on the phone when I approached the unit desk and knew by her stance that she had in fact been alerted.

“Hi Rachel,” she said coolly as she set the phone back on the hook. “Everything okay?”

“Who called Mrs. Stone?”

“No one here called her. Kevin said you would,” she answered. For some reason, I believed her.

“I did,” I snapped, “but she already knew. Now, how do you suppose she knew if I’m the only one who called her?” I didn’t wait for an answer. I swallowed my rage and decided it could simmer while I focused on my own crisis. I checked my watch, 7:45 AM. Angie knew me well enough to know that this discussion was so not over and quickly caught up with me.

“Rachel, I’m sorry, I know you think I hate the Stones, but I am telling you the truth, I didn’t call her!”

“I believe you, Angie” I told her, but held my pace. The Stone saga had seeped too far into my mind and I no longer cared. “Just get back to your shift.”  Angie stopped and stood in the hall. No telling what was going through her mind, and I didn’t care about that either. I had a death report to fill out and file before I left for the courthouse; the rest could wait.

Tina picked up the phone as I appeared in the lobby and pretended to have a legitimate conversation; do they think I’m stupid? I know it’s Angie reporting back. I crossed the reception desk and there at the front door was Mrs. Stone.

“Rachel,” she said, her voice merely a breath.

“Mrs. Stone!” I embraced her and offered my condolences for her loss.

“Rachel, may I see him?”

I opened my mouth but nothing came out. I had been so wrapped up in finding out who called her that I had no idea whether or not his body had been placed in our Afterglow room for viewing.

“Honestly, I’m not sure, why don’t you sit here in the lobby and I’ll go find out.”

“May I wait in his room?” she asked

“Oh, of course, yes, please,” I took her by the arm and led her back to her husband’s room. Tina was still on the phone and I made out enough of her statements to know that another warning had been sent to the unit of approaching doom.

Mrs. Stone had a peculiar look on her face, a calmness about her that was puzzling for someone who had just lost their beloved spouse. I brushed it off and left her alone in the late Mr. Stone’s room while I searched for answers on his whereabouts.

At 8 AM, I ushered Mrs. Stone to the Afterglow room where our staff had laid the body of the deceased and lit candles all around the room; soft, ethereal music welcomed the grieving widow. What happened next shocked me so profoundly I still can’t shake the image from my mind.

Read Parts 1 – 3

Dialogue

In believe, Bible, communication, healing, Jesus, Scripture on October 14, 2009 at 4:43 pm

iStock_000010363917XSmall

I’ve never fully understood the phrase, “ears to hear” until today.  As a writer, I must have “ears to hear” if I am writing dialogue in order to keep each voice unique.

But today as I was reading  chapter nine of the Gospel of John in my Bible I laughed out loud.  Almost the entire chapter was dialogue and as I read it, other phrases popped in my head, like: “Duh!”  “deer in the headlights” “What, are you deaf?” and a few more.  You’ll see what I mean when you read this dialogue:

DISCIPLES:  Who sinned, this man or his parents?

JESUS:  Neither. (turning to MAN) Go wash in the pool.

(MAN washes clay off eyes in pool and gains his sight.)

BYSTANDERS:  Is this he who was blind?

OTHERS:  He is like him.

MAN:  I am he.

OTHERS:  How were your eyes opened?

MAN:  A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and told me to wash in the pool.

OTHERS:  Where is He?

MAN:  I don’t know.

(OTHERS take MAN to church – it was Sunday)

PRIESTS:  Tell us again how you received your sight?

MAN:  I told you already, He put clay on my eyes and I washed and I see!

PRIESTS: (amongst themselves) How can a sinner do such signs?

(MAN shrugs)

PRIESTS: What was it you called Him again?

MAN:  He is a Prophet.

PRIESTS:  Go call the man’s parents.

(MAN’s PARENTS come to the front of the church)

PRIESTS:  Is this your son?

PARENTS:  Yes.

PRIESTS:  Was he born blind?

PARENTS:  Yes.

PRIESTS:  So, how come now he can see?

PARENTS:  We don’t know, ask him, he’s an adult and can answer for himself!

PRIESTS:  Are you sure he was born blind?

PARENTS:  We’re sure.

PRIESTS:  So, how did he get his sight?

PARENTS:  Ask him!  He can answer for himself – don’t involve us!

(PRIESTS call MAN back – MAN returns)

PRIESTS: Listen carefully, you are to give glory to God for healing you – not this Man you call a Prophet, He is a sinner!

MAN:  Whether He is a sinner or not, this I know: I once was blind, but now I see.

PRIESTS:  What did He do to you?  How did He open your eyes?

MAN: (very irritated) I told you already and you didn’t listen!  Why do you want to hear it again – so you can become His disciples?

(dialogue continues back and forth in this fashion for a few more verses.  Finally, MAN is kicked out of church after PRIESTS claim MAN is insulting their intelligence and knowledge of Scripture – JESUS sees MAN walking out of church)

JESUS: Do you believe in the Son of God?

MAN:  Who is He?  I want to know so that I can believe.

JESUS:  It’s Me, the one talking to you.

MAN:  Lord!  I believe!  (MAN falls down and worships)

JESUS:  I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind.

(MAN was blind PRIESTS were deaf.  MAN sees, PRIESTS still deaf.)

THE END

MORAL: “ears to hear” are attached to the heart, not the head.

Everything

In garden, God, healing, help, love, power, relationships on September 20, 2009 at 2:23 pm

With God I neiStock_000004551858XSmalled nothing.

He is my…

Father, Physician, Husband, Attorney, Confidant,  Travel Agent, Accountant and Concierge.

He is my Counselor, Mother, Financial Adviser, Interpreter, Professor, Gardener and Surgeon.

He’s my Nutritionist, Manager, Driver, Landlord, Planner, Negotiator, Mechanic, and Army.

He’s my Real Estate Agent, Defender, Carpenter, Banker, Insurance Agent, Creditor and Healer.

He is my Pastor, my Proxy, my Brother, my Judge.

He is my Safety Officer, Designer, Architect and Friend.

He makes me laugh.

He’s my Exterior Designer, decorating my life with sky paintings that shame the masters.

He accessorizes my landscapes with colors and shapes that fill my senses with pleasure.

He unscrambles my brain.

He calms my craziness.

He corrects me.

He is my Search Party when I get lost, kidnapped or wander away.

He collects my tears in a bottle.

He loves me.

He blows me away.

Without God, I am bankrupt.

9/11

In change, choices, healing, memorial, plots, prayer on September 11, 2009 at 1:56 pm

They went to work.

iStock_000002121570XSmall

That’s all.

They boarded a plane.

That’s all.

One plot.

That’s all.

They’re gone.

But that’s not all.

We will never forget.

Sick

In career, Children, choices, Christ, God, healing, Jesus, kids, parenting, resurrection on August 27, 2009 at 1:33 pm

His daughter was about to die.  He had only one option to keep her alive: find the Healer.

sleepless night

That decision could cost him everything; his job, his reputation, his dignity. But Jarius was desperate.

He cast off the protocol of his position as a ruler in the local synagogue like an old stinky coat and publicly threw himself at Jesus’ feet.  Not exactly proper behavior for a religious leader.

Didn’t he already have a hot line to God?  Why Jesus?  Wasn’t this ‘Blasphemer’ just a radical empowered by the Devil?  That’s what his peers were saying.

Looks like Jarius is about to get the pink slip.

So what!  My daughter is dying!

My guess is he didn’t take the time to process the consequences of his actions; he couldn’t care less what anyone thought – only that his daughter lived.

A sick child stops the world for a parent. They will cross social, economic, political and religious barriers to save them and nothing else matters.

It was such a circumstance that caused this father, employed by an institution that was hotly opposed to the ‘False Prophet,’ to beg for help. So here he was.

“My little daughter lies at the point of death,” he said to Jesus, “Come and lay your hands on her, that she may be healed and she will live.”  So Jesus went with him.

But there were snags along the way that I’m sure tested Jarius to the brink.  Jesus had stopped to talk to a woman! She had had the nerve to touch his garment, crawling in the dirt like a dog.

Why are you stopping to talk to a WOMAN?!  My daughter is dying!!  Come on!!

Jesus stood patiently to hear the woman’s story. Come on – come on – we’re running out of time!

A hand was placed on Jarius’ shoulder. “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”

Jesus heard the news and instantly infused the stunned father with faith. “Do not be afraid, only believe.”

Earlier in the Gospel of Mark, where this story is found, another public situation revealed the huge risk Jarius faced by seeking out Jesus.

His peers, the scribes and Pharisees, were incensed when they saw Jesus dining with ‘tax collectors and sinners.’  They pulled His disciples aside and asked why he would do such an unclean, inappropriate thing.  Of course, Jesus heard them and had an answer.

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Only the sick need a doctor. Do you see His innuendo?   We’re all sick!  Jarius got it, and his daughter lived.


Wagging

In Christ, God, healing, Jesus, judging, relationships on August 13, 2009 at 9:16 am

Throughout my life as a Christian, I’ve succumbed to certain beliefs and ways of thinking that I now see stunted my growth.

j0435244

One in particular I will refer to as “if this, then that.”  Most techies know this phrase as the logical formula on which computer programs function, but this formula is actually quite ancient. In fact, I was shocked when I read it in my Bible!

“If he is the King of the Jews, let him now come down from the cross and we will believe him!” This statement taken from Matthew 27:42, is one in several that were hurled at Jesus as he hung bloody and ripped to shreds on a cruel cross.

The waggers said, if this, then that. How foolish to box God up so that only one conclusion could be drawn by the scene in front of them!

Matthew begins this scene (verse 39) by saying, “And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads.”

Then it struck me. How often have I been the victim of wagging?  People who have no clue of my background, my circumstances or my purpose in life look at me as they pass by and draw a faulty conclusion: if this…then that!

Worse, how often have I passed by others, glanced at their current situation and mocked, if this, then that!

Could Jesus have saved himself?  Of course!  He said as much in the Garden of Gethsemane when his ‘friend’ betrayed him. He calmly told his disciples, who were incensed by the mob assembled with swords surrounding their Savior, “…do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?”

Wow. A legion is one thousand. Jesus could have had 12,000 angels at his side – instantly – to deliver him from the piddly earthly mob.  The swords of earth’s iron would melt in the presence of God’s army of angels wielding swords of fire. It wouldn’t have mattered though, because in the very moment the angels appeared, those mighty men, puffed up on power  and piety, would have dropped their swords, peed their pants and fainted!  What a scene THAT would have been.

But Jesus had a purpose. He told his disciples in that dark garden that if he called the angels, “How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”

We were each created for a purpose. First to be redeemed from our sin and then to please God. This may play out in a zillion ways, for each of us has a path to follow. But how painful it is when God has us in that path and we are met on the road by waggers!

Moreover, how shameful it is for us to wag our heads at those around us who appear to be fake, foolish or out of God’s will and mock!

Scripture warns us on wagging: “Who are you to judge another man’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4

The challenge then is to stay on the path God has chosen for us and to abstain from judging the progress of others.

Lord, forgive me for wagging my head at others. I have no idea what you are doing in their lives and I am sorry for presuming that I do. And, please heal me from the wounds I have sustained from others who have wagged their heads at me.

Dull Hearts

In books, change, choices, Christ, God, healing, Jesus, prayer on July 31, 2009 at 10:19 am

Last night I was talking with a friend on the phone apologizing for not being available to her these past two months. “It’s like I’ve been in a coma,” I explained.

j0438521

I realize my choice of words was exaggerated, as I’ve never been in a coma, but she got the point.  She knew that in June my husband and I uprooted our lives and moved north to live closer to our kids and new grandson.  Thank God for good friends with lots of patience!

But, this morning as I was musing on that conversation, I admitted to myself that I’ve been in a ‘coma’ longer than these past two months.  I didn’t realize my condition until I arrived at Chapter 13 in the book I’m reading:  Matthew 13:13-17 in my Bible.  Jesus was teaching his disciples and those who had come out to hear him speak using parables, short stories packed with dynamite.

After a few stories, the disciples pulled him aside and asked, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”  Jesus pulled a quote from the ancient prophet Isaiah to answer their question.  It was here that I realized the state of my own heart:

“…the hearts of this people have grown dull.  Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so I should heal them.”

Ouch.  You mean I can close my eyes and ears to God’s Word?  And, if I do, my heart will grow dull?  It is this word ‘dull’ that caught my attention.  I’ve been so focused on my earthly state of affairs that I allowed my heart to grow dull.

If a dull heart comes from ears and eyes that are closed, then it only stands to reason that my own will closed them.  My will.  What was that one part of the Lord’s Prayer? 

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Yes, that’s it.  That’s the prayer I repeat when I hear it in church.  Good Christians know that by heart.  The question is, do they mean it by heart?

Lord, I choose to open my eyes and ears so that when I read or repeat Your Word, when I raise my hands in worship or take notes on a sermon at church, my heart will be sharp and not dull.  I want to understand with my heart and turn so that You will heal me.  Thank you for your patience with me and for friends and family who love me in spite of my dull heart.