Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: At the Pulpit (11/15/07)
TITLE: Who's Behind the Pulpit?
By Sandra Corona
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Dragging me, both of her hands digging into both of the outstretched arms, Mom was far stronger than me.
"You ARE going to be healed!"
I was ten then, in 1957, and, having been born with progressive, congenital nerve deafness, was saddled with a body hearing aid with two cords—one to each ear. Diagnosed the previous year, my hearing-aid had feedback; the whistling drew attention wherever we went. Mom had 'HAD' it!
My five siblings were already in the car as Mom forced me into the backseat.
"God WILL heal you!"
After a year of being 'HEALED' without seeing results, I accepted that I was going deaf! It wasn't that I WANTED to be deaf. It was all I'd known.
Mom had her heart set on me seeing this special minister who was on television every Sunday. He would be preaching—one night only--in the largest arena in Dayton, Ohio.
Once the old '53 Chevy was loaded, Mom made haste getting there. We ambled in quietly.
We found seats close to the staging area. The lights, sounds and crowd overwhelmed me. This wasn't religion but a show! Reverend Dean's expensive attire, and the way he bragged about $500 suits and $200 shoes, annoyed me. Money was the man topic … not God! Mom already knew how I felt--to me he was phony!
"Mom, do I really have to go up to the stage with HIM?" I pleaded in my softest voice. "I don't think God is in His pulpit; try the devil!"
Graying, prematurely, and already shorter than me, Mom gave me that piercing look with her eyes and shook her head positively. "Yes, you have to go up there. That's why we're all here."
A strange feeling, a cool chill, ran up and down my spine. Putting my hands together and bowing my head, I whispered. "God, I know you're with me but is this Your house?"
Just then the band hit a LOUD note and I half-jumped out of my seat. His answer was 'NO!'
Mom sat smiling. "How could she not know?"
Bringing my arms in tighter, hugging myself as if that would make me invisible, I actually gasped out loud when the Godless minister stepped up to the microphone.
"Shhhh …," Mom scowled at me. "Be good!"
Pretending to listen to please Mom, I put my head in another place with thoughts of good times … when Dad was still alive. I didn't want evil stuff bugging me. Thus, when the call for healing came, Mom had to physically reach over and pull me from the seat.
"NO, Mom." She assumed I was embarrassed. That wasn't it! I feared HIM and the One he served! "He isn't a good man, Mom."
She jerked me out and in front of her, admonished the others to 'stay there' and marched me into the line that was forming down the aisle. The closer we got to the pulpit, the more tension built inside of me.
"Mom, he can't heal me." She pretended not to hear. "I AM a good girl and God doesn't want me in this line. I don't want this Creature to touch me!"
We inched forward nonetheless with Mom clutching and pushing me all the way.
Our turn came. We eased forward though his eyes gazed deeply into mine. Instantly we dislike one another!
"With the POWER in ME, Lord, HEAL this child!"
His palm, which rested on my forehead, radiated heat and was wet with sweat. His voice bellowed as I fainted!
Reverend Dean bent over me.
My eyes fluttered open. "Who is your Lord?" I murmured.
"My Lord is my Lord!" he muttered softly.
Then he stood, raised his hands over us and shouted. "Hallelujah! This child is healed!"
Mom started talking in the tongues as we exited in praise of God and the minister.
I, disenchanted, saw the supposedly crippled man, healed earlier, behind the curtains. Several others 'healed' people stood near him. Apparently they were part of the show and hadn't returned to their seats because they weren't in the congregation to begin with!
Blind to all but OUR wishes, we sometimes put our hopes in falsehoods … like Mom. She seized my hearing-aid, convinced I was healed, but eventually relented and gave it back because my teachers complained.
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