Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Asia (02/26/09)
TITLE: Only Jesus
By Cristy Zinn
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She shook her head. It was nonsense, her grandmother had told her sister. Rournen claimed that many people had been healed that very week, right there in the village but her grandmother had simply muttered about spirits being angered. Tuvan was too tired to care about any of it. She had, from her bed in the corner, looked down at her clubbed feet and wondered how on earth her sister could imagine a mere man could change them when all their gods had done nothing. Her feet were clubbed and her legs were dead and not once did she dare hope that she would be changed. Hope was a dangerous thing in a community like this because it was all too often disappointed.
But the next day Rournen had taken Tuvan for their usual afternoon walk in her wheeled chair - on a “new route” Rournen had lied – and taken her to the community hut where the healer was supposed to be. Tuvan had felt her anger rise with her hope and had set her jaw in a hard line. She was powerless to decide where she went in her dilapidated wheelchair, her arms having long ago lost their strength, but she was determined not to hope. She had been to too many healing meetings where people chanted without power.
The room swayed before her again, countless bodies packed tightly together, some just watched while others stood with bowed heads, tears slipping down their cheeks. Still others stood with their hands strangely outstretched while they prayed.
They all faced the front of the tiny room but from her low chair, Tuvan couldn’t see the man they were focused on. She could hear his voice, his heavily accented voice that passionately rambled in broken phrases of her own language. He spoke with such passion and authority that she found herself leaning forward slightly to try to peer through the waists of the crowd to catch a glimpse of him.
Rournen pushed the wheelchair forward again, catching someone on the back of the leg with the footrest. The man barely turned around but when he caught sight of the wheelchair his face broke into an uncharacteristic grin and he tapped the shoulder of the man in front of him. Soon the crowd parted down the middle with ample access for her chair and Rournen quickly pushed her through. Tuvan’s heart began pounding as she caught sight of the man in the front as he moved quickly towards her, never stopping his praying as he came. Then suddenly, his hand was gently on her forehead and she felt the room spinning away.
When she blinked she found herself immersed in a great light that swept through the room, taking with it sight and sound and smell. Instead the light brought with it the sound of drums and singing and an overwhelming sense of power. She heard a name being sung over and over with such love that she could not stop herself from crying. The name was faint at first but soon it became a roaring. “Jesus!” it sang over and over as if it were the most beautiful name in language.
The sounds began to mingle with the sounds of the room again and she opened her eyes to see the man standing before her, smiling and clapping his hands and saying “Praise you Jesus!” When she looked down she saw that she was no longer sitting in her chair but standing, her feet were flat on the floor and straight. Her legs tingled with feeling and she found herself walking - walking!
“How?” was all she could breathe.
“Jesus,” the man smiled. “Only Jesus…”
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