‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter. ” MLK
Today’s quote is one very close to my heart. It is not always easy to speak up about the things that matter, and what matters to one may not matter to all. Even so, speaking our truth is important, even if it is only whispered.
Last night was a night when I spoke about one of the things that matters in my life. I spent two hours with a handful of people teaching a class about the Brazilian Healer known as John of God. I can remember some years back reading stories about this healer, and thinking they were outrageous. I wondered how someone with such gifts could be roaming the planet virtually unknown to so many. His work is well beyond the boggle point of many which makes me respectfully quiet about the topic. Quiet yes. Silent no.
In October of 2013 I spent 8 days in a tiny Brazilian village that houses the healing center known as the Casa Dom Inacio. It is here that the healer known as John of God does his work. Like most people who visit the Casa Dom Inacio for the first time, I did so as a member of a guided group. The group leader was an old and trusted friend, and also a well seasoned guide, which made for a great experience. In all, there were 10 people in our group. Each person was there for reasons both personal and surprisingly universal. Out of the ten people in our group, three were seeking outright physical cures to observable maladies. To my delight and astonishment, I watched all three of these people receive exactly what they came for. There was no pomp and circumstance to it; their physical ills were simply gone. (One wheelchair, one cane, and one set of very strong eye glasses were laid aside as proof.) I can say with utmost certainty, that when they healed, we all healed. One of my very favorite memories from the trip occurred over about a twenty-minute period of time.
‘Jane’ had arrived to the Casa with a cane. She had an MRI confirmed tear in her meniscus and walking was acutely painful. When she went before John of God for her healing, she was told that she would heal and that she should go to the ‘Sacred Waterfall’. The Sacred Waterfall is one of the healing treatments often prescribed by John of God. It requires nothing more than a short walk down a somewhat steep decline to a beautiful fresh water fall that is said to be imbued with divine healing properties. Once you reach the fall, you stand beneath the cold cascading water, pray and trust. It’s a baptism of sorts. One by one, we each went into the waterfall, and presumably each had a unique experience. My personal experience was pleasant, but transformational only in the sense that I was able to stand beneath very cold water sweeping over my body, without so much as a grimace. (Water less than near scalding is too cold for me.)
We had all watched with bated breath, as Jane made her way very painfully down the long path that led to the waterfall. She was not pleased with having to make this trek, and there was a fair amount of moral support being thrown her way as she made each excruciating step. When she finally reached the waterfall it was with great effort that she slowly and methodically plunged her whole self into the water that was falling from the rocks above. Objectively, her experience did not seem extraordinary, but when she emerged the change in her was apparent- and you would have had to be both blind and deaf to miss the fact that a healing had taken place. She came out of the waterfall looking rather triumphant. As she pulled herself from the water she gingerly took a step forward with her ‘bad leg’. She eyed the cane that sat up ahead awaiting her on a rock. Then a look of pure joy crossed her face as she began to really test her weight against her ‘bad leg.’ Without missing a beat she very decisively made the short trek to where the cane lay and let out a peal of laughter. She grabbed the cane and began swinging it around like Fred Astaire on a Broadway stage. From that moment on, she was cane free. Let me re-phrase that, from that moment on SHE WAS FREE. I received an email from her last month confirming that she remains cane free, pain free, F-R-E-E, free. Her orthopedic surgeon can only shrug and chart the fact that her physical exam no longer matches her MRI results.
Jane’s story may seem extraordinary, but her healing could be called basic Casa Vanilla. Sweet but routine and not tinged with life or death urgency. Truly, things like this happen daily, in astonishing numbers at the Casa dom Inacio. But what are more common are slow moving miracles of a different nature.
An example of this is Annika, a beautiful 14-year-old girl from Russia. She had a brain tumor that had spread to her lungs and liver. She and her mother had been at the Casa for three weeks when I met her. She had gone before John of God multiple times in the prior weeks asking for her body to be healed. She was radiantly beautiful and wore a white turban to cover her hairless head. Although radiant, her distended abdomen told the story of what was going on in her otherwise frail thin body. I asked if she had improved physically since being at the Casa and she did not hesitate to answer. In a neutral tone she said that she had not gotten better and that her pain was much worse than it ever had been. I asked her what she was going to do. She looked at me with a serene smile and said that she would stay at the Casa as long as she could, and then she would let God decide her fate. I completely understood what she was saying, and I think anyone who has ever experienced what happens at the Casa would as well. Annika received a healing at a level that is hard to comprehend in our ‘physical cure’ oriented world. She had been given a peace that seemed to transcend her physical state.
Even though I could not tell you what, how, or why, things happen as they do at the Casa dom Inacio, I can tell you that what I observed left me with a deep sense that we all have our very own special place in the grand scheme of things. What I witnessed left me with the sense that sometimes the healing we ‘want’ is different from the healing we ‘need’. Perhaps our healings happen in layers, and we cannot always see the miracles that have been planted within us so that they can emerge into our world at a later date. I did not feel pity for Annika; I felt a deep sense of peace that she was well taken care of, despite the disease that raged within her. Most important of all, she seemed to feel this peace as well.