Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Your Faith Has Healed You

Nocturnal anxiety attacks are back. They hit, I wake up, I calm myself down with assurances that I am neither insane nor am I dying of a heart attack, I decide to believe my own assurances, I go back to sleep. Upsetting, but not too terrible.

I pray before bed every night, using either the Universalist Prayer Book or the King's Chapel Prayer Book. I read some of the gospels or the psalms. It's weird how much this practice has begun to affect me in all that I do. Meanness and self-hating is so much less. Fear of death much less. Compassion and curiosity, up. Noticing that my body is stressed, way up. I just figured out that I crunch my shoulders up around my neck as I type (and as I do most things, actually).

You wouldn't think that teacher Jesus would have anything to teach me about my tense shoulders, but it's a holistic thing. Jesus is very physical. I get this in a new way now.

Last night I was reading out of Luke and got to the wonderful stories (one embedded in the other) of the Woman With the Flow of Blood and Jairus' Daughter. I read the encounter between the woman and Jesus about half a dozen times (in the NIV, which I just like so much) before I got something: she reaches out for healing, and that's why she is healed. I know this is going to strike Christians as the biggest DUH moment of all time, but I always focused before on the total embarrassment of the woman having to be like, "Um, sorry dude, it was me touching your robe." I always pictured Peter looking at her with totally impatient irritation and Jesus kind of surprised, and then giving her the kind word, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace."

Last night, what really became vivid for me was the image of this suffering woman reaching out to the hem of Jesus' robe. He was whisking through the crowd so fast, and she was a nobody, an untouchable. Still, she reached out. She knew who he was, and she wanted healing so badly she got herself into close enough proximity to him to partake of his mojo. Man, I admire that.
That woman became my hero last night; me, who if a healing guru was coming to town would probably be in the back of the room thinking, "How nice that all those suffering people are going up to be healed. Isn't that touching. Well, this has been an interesting little sociological study, but I really should get home and get back to work."
Then I would drive home with my shoulders hunched up around my ears listening to some educational podcast on the stereo, get home and do some writing, go to bed, and wake up with an anxiety attack, go back to sleep, and wake up and get back to work.

But it's so nice that all those people went up for healing. Isn't that touching.
I certainly would never need to do that.

Here's a totally hilarious church production photo of the raising of Jairus' daughter: http://www.radiant-life-church.com/adults/productions/ThePromise/photos2004/At%20Jairus%20house.jpg

You can tell that the guy playing Jesus is so appalled by the eye shadow of the girl playing the daughter that he forgot his next line.


(For some non-Christian spiritual healing resources, this is neat: http://www.ringingrocks.org/www/index.php?order_ropes)

6 Comments:

Blogger John Plummer said...

PB - Did you know that the guy who wrote Ropes to God (in your link) also has written a book on Christian spiritual practice? I think it is called Shamanic Christianity by Bradford Keeney, or something very like that. Yeah, yeah, I know..... Shamanic everything these days. I half expect to see advertisements for Shamanic Auto Mechanics or Shamanic Hairdressers... Nonetheless, Keeney makes some interesting applications of his studies of indigenous cultures to Christian practice.

19:05  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

Very cool, John! I just kind of randomly found that link tonight and it looked like it was a bunch of fascinating stuff.

22:08  
Blogger powderblue said...

Conventional wisdom rightly discourages giving this type of advice, but here it is anyway.

About every 10-14 days I wake up at night and can’t get back to sleep – unless I take a .25 mg Xanax. THIS IS NOT THE WAY THIS MEDICINE IS SUPPOSED TO BE TAKEN. However, about 40 minutes max after taking it, I’m gone. I wake up in the morning with no side effects that I’m aware of.

A couple of years ago my doctor prescribed Xanax for mild anxiety. I didn’t notice it helping with that, but it did make me too sleepy during the day to get enough done. After a couple of weeks, I stopped abruptly, which one is not supposed to do either, because this can cause withdrawal symptoms. I didn’t notice any. (FWIW, I used to smoke an occasional cigarette, and, like you, never had an urge to make them a habit, or felt bad when I gave them up for good.)

Exercise, diet, and mental disciplines are better alternatives, but sometimes a person needs to see her doctor. Always follow your doctor’s instructions is usually good advice.

http://psyweb.com/Drughtm/jsp/xanax.jsp

17:20  
Blogger Wally Nut said...

What has always intrigued me about that story in Luke is that it was a crowded place and of course many many people had touched Jesus but they were not healed. When the woman touched him she did it with a powerful need, desire, and intention. Of course there was power in Jesus. Only she pulled the power out of him. We can, I believe, do the same. We can literally pull power right out of the ether.

18:42  
Anonymous Gas 48201 said...

Hmm.. Very cool! It looked like it was a bunch of fascinating stuff. Gas 48201

07:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What has always intrigued me about that story in Luke is that it was a crowded place and of course many many people had touched Jesus but they were not healed. When the woman touched him she did it with a powerful need, desire, and intention. Of course there was power in Jesus. Only she pulled the power out of him. We can, I believe, do the same. We can literally pull power right out of the ether.

07:50  

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