Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Sightseeing (08/08/05)
TITLE: I Have a Gift
By Sally Hanan
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Women, men, children - I hear their thoughts. I sense their emotions. I see their pain. In my mind I have invented pictures of every person in our village, so many pictures. Every nuance of voice, every smell of clothes, skin and hair, every touch of love, has meaning. I am not one of the sight seeing ones as my mother is. I see only darkness, but this gift helps me to see into the soul.
As I sit on the gritty dirt floor of our home I feel the breeze of my mother’s friend rush by my face. Her voice screeches higher than usual with the exhilaration of being the bearer of important news.
Jesus? A movie about Jesus? Who is he? Why do these foreigners want to show us a movie? We are just the Dalits of India- the unwanted in this world, the lesser ones.
Excitement and hope rise to fill the air. My mother squats in front of me and squeezes both my hands in hers.
We wait outside with hundreds, perhaps thousands more, all pushing together like kid goats wanting their mother’s milk. It scares me.
The air quivers with silent expectancy. My mother’s breathing is rapid. She has never seen a movie before.
An abrupt raucous rattle behind us makes me nervous. I hear hundreds of yards of material turn to see.
“It is the box on legs,” my mother declares. “Oh!” She turns back. “Light is on the white square ahead.” She grasps my hand; the fear of angry spirits and the unexpected transmits to my palm lines as she digs her nails in. The movie has begun.
My mother gives continuous details as the pictures move before the crowd’s eyes. I feel their fixation on the screen. She tells me of a baby that is protected from death by the hand of his father, God. She speaks of a river where Jesus stands and argues with the man with the wild hair, who does not think himself worthy enough to baptize God’s son. Then I hear Jesus speak.
“It must be done, because we must do everything that is right.”
I feel a shiver go through my body. Something is whirling about this place; the spirits are angry about this movie, yet I sense something far greater and peaceful spiraling about my heart. Do these others sense it too?
My mother tells me of Jesus calling men abruptly from their work, and their choosing gladly to leave everything for the opportunity of being with him. Her voice rises and falls, her breath slows and quickens, her body joins in sympathy for those she sees.
“Now he is healing people!” I hear her higher voice of surprise muffled by a hand over her mouth. She is astounded at this Jesus.
Jesus’ voice shines into my darkness. “Don’t worry about anything. Forgive others. Accept my forgiveness. Trust me.” The words leave his mouth and wrap like the softest sari around my heart. I see into his soul, and I know there is nothing dark in there. I give you myself Jesus, son of God. I want to know you. Teach me about you. A sigh of release escapes my lips. Even though this physical darkness remains, my soul and spirit feel full of light.
Beside this peacefulness I feel Mother tremble. “Two blind men are following him to his house. They are going into his home!” Her body stiffens, and then I hear Jesus speak to my heart again.
“Do you believe I can make you see?”
“Yes, Lord, we do.” Yes Lord, I believe too.
“Because of your faith, it will happen.”
I feel a burning heat in my eyes. Salted tears trickle down from the closed lids. My fingers reach up to touch them, but before they make contact I feel a flutter of soft skin. Light shoots in from all directions at once and I almost fall over. My mother screams as I grab at her and raise my eyes to hers. The pictures in my mind of my mother’s face are instantly replaced. Each line and wrinkle that I have imagined for so long is now part of a truer picture. My lips stretch into a huge smile. As the tears of joy flow further, I whisper,
“Momma, I can see.”
I have a gift.
This is based on a true story of a girl in India, blind from birth, who was miraculously healed while watching the Jesus movie.
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