Has anyone ever prayed over your leg before? he asks.
Yes, I say. Yes, lots of people have. Was mostly just after I was born (my father: you should feel blessed to be able to use one arm and one leg; it’s because you were prayed for) but there are more recent examples, too. I don’t tell them this. I just say ‘yes’. I don’t tell them that the splint relates to permenant physical disability, not temporary brokeness, either.
I am standing alone outside the bookshop in the centre of town, and these three students are on a mission. They have no banner, no identity; they have randomly approached me, on their way to church. I think about lecturing them on the “through the roof” story (it was the faith of his friends that mattered) or on the figurative nature of the healing stories; think about telling them to do one. But I’m tired, and yes seems like the path of least resistance.
They pray for healing. They pray about a heaven where there are no damaged legs. I wonder how they know this (if I can’t keep my physical disability in heaven, I don’t want to go there). I thank them. They walk away. And later, un-stunning myself from the situation, (that hasn’t happened before) I reflect. They saw the splint. And, having seen it, they assumed my leg was broken; needed healing.
But it is already healed. I cope with physical disability. I live on my own; I can ask for help when I need it; I accept the disability as part of me. I am whole. Just not obviously so.
At the same time, I am in need of healing. My disability isn’t the obvious one, isn’t the one that the students prayed over. The one I struggle with is much more crippling than my leg. Serious unmet need was the phrase the assessor used this afternoon. And although I do reach out for help sometimes, the needs are not met. I scare people away. But. But, I don’t know what those needs are. Or how to see that they are met.
I am stuck in a circular trap, and I am useless and horrid, and un-healed. It would be better if I weren’t around, asking for help. I want to hurt myself.