Miracle Maxine and the Dead Chicken
While I was still in outpatient rehab (generally wishing my half-empty glass contained cyanide:<), a nurse confided to my wife that a spiritual healer lived on the Flathead Reservation who might make me walk again.
Too desperate to hope but with my heart in my throat, I called the woman. (This was before I studied the science of SCI. Perhaps the following nudged me in that direction.) From forty miles away, she sensed the cause of my paralysis, lingering inflammation in my spinal cord. Naturally I accepted her offer to creative visualize my spinal cord to back to normal. (I’m a big fan of creative visualization, so I didn’t blink at the thought:<)
Two weeks later—still paralyzed and sinking into a mental abyss—I called the woman back. [Note: I later discovered a conversation with her neighbor, a neurologist, had convinced her to revise her prognosis.] She stunned me with her coldness.
“I can’t help you, Mr. Kelly, so please don’t call this number again.”
Too saddened to speak, I clasped the phone with limp fingers while staring at an empty wall. Despite my silence or perhaps because of it, she felt compelled to elaborate:
“It’s not that I can’t heal you—it’s just that I shouldn’t. After all, if God wanted you to walk you wouldn’t be paralyzed.”
Now I felt really bad. I mean…if the Head Muchacho/Muchacha has it in for you, you’re in serious trouble. Most of me wanted to hang up and slit my wrists, but hope can be a sadist. Besides, the lady needed to express herself.
“Before you were born,” she said, “you agreed with your wife on the astral plane that paralysis would be good for your spiritual growth. After all, you probably crippled someone in a previous life, so now it’s your karma.”
It was like I hit the mother lode of life-path insights. I was having a hard time taking it all in when she hit me with a mental sucker-punch.
“I could heal you if I wanted to. I bring chickens back from the dead.”
I felt worse than ever. God liked chickens better than me. Warming to her topic, she offered a narrative as proof.
Supposedly the children on the reservation had killed two chickens behind her house. She scolded the brats and claimed the cadavers. When she poked one with the toe of her shoe, the bird jumped up and scuttled off. Emboldened by success, she nudged the second fowl, but the chicken had apparently decided while in the egg it should end its days in the healer’s stock pot.
I finally bestirred myself to paraphrase Miracle Max from “The Princess Bride.”
“I guess the first bird was only mostly dead.”
The healer grew annoyed, and our chat soon lapsed.