Healing Line

Healing Line

The Last One to Ask

by Cari Taylor
Mar/Apr 2011

This is my dilemma. I am a writer who can’t write. Stories gushed out of me when I was a child. My dad wrote them down for me before I could even form words on a page. It was my favorite thing to do. Then something went horribly wrong and, even though an intense desire to write remained, for me the process became formidable and cruel. This is what I know.

What I don’t know is how. What happened in the meantime to break my heart? As a volunteer prayer minister at CHM, I realized this is a huge area of my life that needs inner healing, yet I would be the last one to ask for prayer for myself. So, I pleaded with God on my own behalf, over and over again. “What’s wrong with me, God? Why can’t I do this?” I have a writer’s office. It’s full of writery things. I lack nothing that would keep me from the task except for one thing. I’d rather be doing anything else! Sometimes when I try to write, I get physically sick. Often times I get really sleepy. When something interrupts my most ardent attempts, I cry “Sabotage!” though secretly I’m relieved to have a bonafide excuse not to write. I console myself with quotes by famous authors, like German novelist, Thomas Mann who wrote, “A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” “See!” I tell myself. “It’s not just me”.

Recently while on my porch having morning devotions and minding my own business, I suddenly saw myself in my mind’s eye, walking down a school corridor at the age of five. At the end of the corridor is the door to my first grade classroom. It is the gates of hell as far as I’m concerned. My heart pounds. Beyond that door lies the malignant domain of the sadistic Miss Silver, my first grade teacher. For a second, my mind flashes back to the bathroom in my house where I just tossed my breakfast. I throw up every day of first grade. I can feel the orange–juice–flavored vomit burning my throat. The thought of getting throw–up on my school clothes horrifies me.

The classroom door opens and I step into the presence of the dread Miss Silver. She is not good with children. Miss Silver gets up close and yells. Her body trembles with rage. She uses every opportunity to embarrass us. Daily Miss Silver scares the pee–pee out of the tiny boy who sits in front of me. All she has to do is call his name and whoops! There it is! The poor little guy sits in a puddle right now. He tries not to cry, but Miss Silver screams, “Shame on you, you BABY! You go to the office!” He cries. We all want to cry. Who will be next?

As I sink into this memory, nausea rises up in present–time me. I begin to gag and choke. As a prayer minister, I know what that means. Something ugly is making its way out of me. I pray, “Jesus, please come!”

And he does. Jesus is right here with me. Miss Silver is there also. She sounds like a scary version of the grown–ups in a Peanuts cartoon. “Waugh! Waugh! Waugh!” Jesus kneels beside my desk. He holds up his hand to Miss Silver in a gesture that means “stop!” But she does not stop. My writing assignment is on the desk in front of me. It is graded “U” for unsatisfactory. On it are my practice words and lots and lots of big red Xs. I cannot hold back the tears. I am five years old. I am new at words. My little letters float above the practice lines. I don’t know why. As hard as I try, I can never make those letters settle down. They are correct and perfectly shaped, but still! There is no pleasing Miss Silver.

Jesus looks at my paper. He is awfully quiet. I can’t look at him. I’m sensing anger. Slowly, he stands up and walks over to Miss Silver. She yells “Waugh! Waugh!” and points to my paper in his hand. Jesus gently takes her by the arm and walks her out of the room. I can hear their voices fading down the corridor into the distance.

The classroom is quiet now. I sit still and all alone in this moment. Jesus comes back in the room. He kneels beside me again. I feel safe that He is with me, but I also keep a close eye on the door. "We don’t want Miss Silver to come back," I tell him. He agrees. Then Jesus spreads my soggy tear–stained, red–marked, floating–word paper back down in front of me.

“Now lets’ see what you’ve done,” he says.

“Please!” I say. “Please, let’s just throw this one away!”

“No,” says Jesus. “Your words are important to me. I would never throw them away!”

Jesus takes his finger and rubs it all over the cruel red marks. They disappear! His finger is just like an eraser! When he finishes, Jesus takes a deep breath and blows the red marks right off the paper.

“There!” he says, looking very pleased. “Your words are treasure to me!”

I feel so relieved! Then all of a sudden and much to my surprise, my five–year–old self gets up from the desk, walks over to the classroom door and locks it! Jesus smiles. She takes her seat and brings out a clean sheet of paper. We are ready to write.

In the following days it has become evident to me that his peace has supplanted my former anxiety. Jesus is in the process of healing all things that are broken inside of me. He showed me exactly where the root of that brokenness was and then I simply invited him into that place. Though my jailer had a human name, she sported many other names as well. Rejection. Fear. Shame. Jesus sent her and everything she stood for “to the office!” I stepped into that healing by sealing Him in and locking them out.

And even though I am the last one to ask for prayer, I am not so different from many others who are in ministry. We could ask for prayer. We should ask for prayer. But we don’t. We don’t wish to impose upon each other’s time or energy because we, of all people, know how much goes into praying for someone else! The good news is that even so . . . Jesus knows our hearts. He is coming to rescue us in those dark places anyway. He uses what we learn in prayer ministry and partners with us to bring about the healing and freedom we seek.

Cari Taylor Cari Taylor is a Prayer Minister at CHM. Mar/Apr 2011