A man lived on the banks of a mighty river. One night, the winter rains came and swelled the river so that it overwhelmed its banks and blanketed the lands around. The man awoke to a flooded house, and scrambled onto his roof for safety.
He was a man of faith, and he trusted in the Divine to take care of him. So he prayed to be saved from his predicament.
As he finished praying, a neighbor came by in a rowboat and called out, "come with me, i will bring us to higher ground and we can wait there for the waters to recede!" But the man declined the neighbor's help, saying, "I have prayed for God to save me, and I have faith that it will be so."
The neighbor rowed off, and the man went back to his prayers. The waters continued to rise, and a rescue helicopter approached. The helicopter crew lowered a rope to the man, but he refused to climb up, trusting that certainly his Creator would save him.
The helicopter flew away, and the waters continued to rise until the man was finally swept off of his roof and drowned.
He was a man of faith, and upon his death he found himself in the realm of the One. And the One said, "welcome." And the man said, " I am grateful to be here, but confused...I was taught that anything we prayed for would be granted to us, and yet I prayed for you to save me from that flood, but you let me drown!"
And the Perfect Being replied, saying, "I sent you a boat and a helicopter! what more do you want from me?"
That story is, as my father would say, as old as the hills. And here are some pictures of a little guy who is younger than most hills.
(we had the foresight to bring down a camera that cannot upload any files to anywhere, so the pictures here are all taken by solas' support crew in the yay area)
but back to that story - I love it. And if it were a talisman it would dangling from my neck on this journey. It's hard to discern, of course, the difference between those things that are going to get you to higher ground and those things that are just going to make things worse. But! Try we must. Or anyway try we will.
"I sent you john of god..."
And so we're down here. A dear friend raised concerns about coming down on this trip, partly because there's biblical injunctions specifically against mediums. And obviously we were on guard as well just because there's so many hucksters out there ready to take all your money in exchange for a little hope.
For the healing-con piece, it speaks to me that Jon of god doesn't charge anyone anything for his time. There's no priority given to those with more cash. I've never heard of him doing a private session for the rich and powerful. People online have accusatorily pointed out that he prescribes blessed water and passionflower pills and then charges for them...but the water costs about what bottled water costs here (less than what nestle charges people in the states by a long shot), and the passionflower pills cost $20 for a two month supply. If that's his angle, it's a pretty weak con. The pills Rebecca just got prescribed, tagrisso, cost $12,000 per month. They don't cost any more to manufacture than the pills she was taking before, which cost $6000 per month. Neither of those pill manufacturers claims to offer a cure, by the way. The money available to con artists and and just regular old profiteers if you offer a ray of Hope to the desperate has a far bigger financial upside than $10/month. I don't smell a scam.
On to the biblical injunction: I feel that a word like "medium" or "priest" or "saint" is far less important than the fruits of someone's work. Behaviors proscribed millennia ago should not be taken verbatim in their translations, I don't think. And if you look at the fruits here...well, is it easier to say you're a medium or to cure someone of cancer? If the human language is suspect, isn't the celestial language speaking clearly?
I judge the fruits. And the fruits appear sound.
The other thing that I think about, but don't know about (but will postulate about), is talents. The Creator gives us all different affinities, different gifts. If you can talk, you can sing - but only one of us got to be Aretha Franklin. All of us who can pray are healers. I believe that to the core of my being, and the Divine graces different people with that gift in different degrees. It's wonderful, and i'm sure there's stuff that comes naturally to me that aretha franklin would have a hard time with. it's part of the rainbow of life that we are. And it just seems apparent that the Spirit of Healing is great with this one, this medium joao.
Blah blah blah philosophy but what's real is that while we've been here rebecca has said more than once that she can feel the healing happening. That's everything, of course.
One funny thing that I don't particularly feel here is the sort of easy warm connection that I've experienced at other spiritual gatherings, mindfulness retreats, Sunday mornings at mass, political mobilizations or even grateful dead parking lots. The collection of folks here seems less likely to smile back than those other groups I mentioned. It's been a continual surprise to me - my heart feels lighter here and my soul feels nourished by the emphasis on prayer. How can i keep from smiling? But I think that might be because we're very rarely doing something together except silently praying. And because the focus here is so much on one man who isn't telling us to do anything particular besides pray. And wear white. And don't cross your arms or legs.
On Sunday mornings here there is a song-singing hour that I've enjoyed crying at (seriously, whether I'm imagining all the people or shining my little light, all the words are thoroughly salted), and afterwards the twinkling eyes and crinkled mouths that I long for are more present. But the rest of the time...well, I guess it's a little like we're all here to win the lottery, and that can make people feel more focused on themselves. Also it makes sense that if we're selecting a group of people who are all either physically or spiritually hurting enough to make a pilgrimage to this little town in hopes of healing, that maybe a higher percent of those people than the regular church-going populace has something to frown about.
...or maybe it's a huge love fest here behind my back. I'll have to ask Rebecca...
But really the main thing is that this trip has felt wonderful for her. We were eating lunch the other day w a couple who comes here every six months or so, and they asked why we were down here, and we told them briefly about the whole diagnosis. The woman asked Rebecca how the spiritual interventions had felt, Rebecca said "amazing. I feel lighter as my body heals." And the woman rather breezily said, "yeah, cancer's simple here."
This woman is a guide to the Casa who's brought dozens of folks through in the last five years or so. Seen a lot of healing. It felt nice to hear from her.
While we were sitting with them, an Englishman came up to inform our new friend that he was about to head out if she wanted to come.
Oh, there's this Japanese-Brazilian man down the road who has set up a bunch of machines that work your body using heat, magnets and/or it massage. it supports your overall health, and by the way can cure cancer.
...I sent you a mad scientist...
We went, of course, and it was lovely. Being Japanese-Brazilian he was able to speak in Two languages that we didn't understand. Via lots of gesturing and nodding of heads, and either due-to or in-spite-of me pronouncing the word "machine" with different accents, we settled into his laboratory of health. By the end of it, we'd been boiled and magnetized and rolled so much that I felt like a newly washed car. I was done before Rebecca and sat with him in his receiving area for a few minutes. Although it made absolutely no sense to instigate small talk in this Waiting Room of Babel scenario, my Midwestern training is strong and would not be denied. I can't be comfortable unless I'm making (or trying to make) someone comfortable. No matter how uncomfortable it makes everyone.
So we chatted. He told me that his niece came in second in the American open tennis match in Miami, and that she has a really good photo of the planes crashing into the twin towers. I think. For my part I tried to tell him that I work as a structural engineer but he may well think my livelihood is driving trains. Then Rebecca was done and we all smiled and nodded and bowed to each other, and he strung together a series of words and phrases that indicated that Rebecca has a very strong heart. I'm pretty sure it's either that, or that she will be hit in the chest with a meteorite. Only time will tell...
...but what we could Immediately tell was that the machines worked. Rebecca's equilibrium has been off (presumably due to the tumor they saw on her pituitary gland) and it's affected her walking (exacerbated by the toll taken on her muscles by the three weeks of bed rest around her radiation treatment), but once we left the parlor of magical machines she was a woman transformed. I actually had to ask her to slow down at one point as we walked back to our place. Not because I couldn't keep up, but because it ate away at my sense of superiority to have her keeping pace with me.
No, of course that was a lovely moment. And between that seriously brilliant man and the faith healing at the Casa, Rebecca is bright and shiny, and far better off than she was when we got here. Add into that a steady diet of rice and beans and Brazilian meat and various squashes and local fruit and she's gained back a good chunk of the weight she lost in November (due to tumor symptoms and the the virtual bedrest that accompanied radiation). So grateful to see her tummy rounding out!
And beyond that, grateful to all the effort and energy and thoughtful decisions that went into her maintaining a healthy body leading up to this dance with cancer. She was in training all those years, we just didn't know what it was for.
And we don't know what you're training for either - may it be nothing more taxing than carrying your grandkids on your shoulders! - but no matter what it is, thanks to you on behalf of everyone who loves you for all the ways you take care of yourself. It's a gift to us when you tend that temple well...and if there's anything we appreciate at the temple of the waters, it's tending temple wells...
With gratitude to the One who is the source of all life
With gratitude to the moment we are called back from life to Life
For all the shared smiles and open hearts
For all the conspiracies of kindness
For all the healing beings at the casa de dom ignacio
For the silence of deep night
For the chorus of dawn
For the birth of the king of the day
We give thanks for rebecca's healing
We give thanks for the restoration of her eyesight
We give thanks for the ongoing health of baby solas
We pray for rebecca's healing
We pray for her body to be clear of all tumors
We pray for her to be in vibrant health
We pray for her support team to be suffused with health and grace
In the name of jesus, healer and teacher
In the name of mary, mother of god
In the name of mary, beloved
In the name of brigid, guardian of the well
In the name of the holy nameless One
Your will be done