The dusty road teemed with life. Vendors shouted out their wares and the creak of wooden carts' wheels could be heard over the constant chatter of the passersby. A donkey relieved himself in the middle of the road causing a sudden crack in the stream of people as they attempted to swerve around it. One man plodding along absentmindedly stepped right into the steaming pile and a young boy shouted with laughter.
On the other side of the road an axle on a cart broke, sending an avalanche of fruits bouncing around the dirt to make the busy road even more chaotic. The owner of the cart swore as he clambered down to survey the scene.
Already some of the people stopped to help gather fruit and a few people took the opportunity to steal oneógrabbing a rolling green orb or lumpy clump of grapes and quickly disappearing into the crowd.
In the middle of all the noise and confusion a young girl knelt on a faded blanket by the side of the road. She didnít turn when a man laughed loudly at a vendorís stall beside her. She hadnít even jumped at the loud sound of the axle breaking. She didnít pull away when a woman carrying a great basket on her head almost didnít see her and had to swerve suddenly to keep from stumbling over the child.
Indeed, this young girl was oblivious almost all around her. Her world was filled with only the simplest of things. Things such as the warmth of the sun as it fell on her back. She enjoyed this now, before it grew hot and boiling. She enjoyed, too, the feel of vibrations as a passerby paused to drop a coin in the tin cup she grasped firmly in her hands.
The young girl could only sense the throng of people by the choking dust that swirled into her nostrils and the faint vibrations of steadily-trodding feet.
So she did not notice when a plain-looking man rounded the bend in the road-óeven though many of the people paused to watch him. He had a crowd that seemed to be all his own milling around him. When he paused to speak to a young man selling metal figures of idols, his own crowd paused too, impeding the flow of traffic. When the man began walking again the idol-seller followed--abandoning his shop.
As he walked this manís eyes roved the crowd, nodding a greeting to those who pressed by him, even calling out to a few friends. In the middle of the road the man paused so suddenly that a few of the crowd behind him bumped into his back. His eyes were fixed on the little girl and he didnít seem to notice the slight commotion his abrupt stop had caused.
Her blank eyes were lifted up and she was shaking her can, enjoying the feel of the coins as they bounced around. She jumped at an unexpected touch on her shoulder and pulled back, alarmed. The child seldom felt the touch of a human hand, save at the end of a long day of begging when her father arrived to gently lead her home. But the hand on her shoulder followed her arm down to her hand and tugged, gently but persistently urging her to her feet.
The people around her watched intently as the man helped her to her feet and then softly touched first her eyes and then her ears.
The child gasped in shock as sensations she had never known flooded her brain. She squeezed her eyes tight and slapped her hands over her ears, not heading the tin of precious coins that crashed to the ground. But her feeble attempts didnít stop the cacophony that slammed against her ears or the burning in her eyes.
Once again she felt a touch, this time on her face. She couldnít keep her eyes from flying open and this time the sensation registered in her brain as sight! The first thing she beheld was this kind man smiling down at her. His lips moved and the words reached her ears.
ďYou have been healed. Have faith and go your way.Ē
Written on Feb. 21, 2005
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