I am a faith healer. I never used to be but I cracked it at the weekend.
I’d been told I would be one day by my grandfather. He was a faith healer with a crucifix on his palm and many successful healings of scattered folk with moderate to mild illnesses. When I was a teenager I had my spirit liver removed and bathed in blue liquid by my grandfathers’ spirit guide and I had had my kneecap rinsed in the same blue liquid. I can’t speak for my liver but my knee issues never went away.
I did wonder why, if this blue liquid of the Gods was so good, we weren’t all bathed every night by our spirit friends? Given heaven is infinite surely this blue balm wasn’t in short supply?
My grandfather told me that once I learnt to love unconditionally I would be a great healer, greater even then him. At the time I was a teen so preferred the idea of loving Linda Hamilton from The Terminator and loving her quite specifically rather than unconditionally.
It did occur to me that healing powers would be akin to super powers. I could help the flat chested, the bad haired, the non Nine Inch Nails fans, basically the females.
But that unconditional love thing…it was just too much commitment so I forgot all about it beyond the occasional drunk pub boasts “one of these days mate, I’ll be Captain Healer and you’ll still be ugly.”
Later in life when my daughter had her accident the idea bubbled up at 2am. Ideas that come at that time are always ridiculous. It absolutely is a burglar you can hear, that is a lump you can feel and you are financially fucked. So at 2am when it struck me that maybe there was something to this healing power I wandered through to my daughters cot and held her bandaged hand through the bars and thought “I do love her unconditionally.”
I pictured a waterfall in Cambodia I had fond memories of, pictured the blue waters running over her burnt skin and the damage falling away. I held her hand for a while and hoped, loved and wished.
Nothing changed, we still have 2 years of treatments and pain and the nurses, doctors and my wifes’ tenacity did her way more good than my holding her hand at 2am.
Can’t say I didn’t try.
Then this last weekend I had my road to Damascus moment.
My powers came to life and I healed.
Can I get a Hallelujah?
We were at a party. A huge bacchanalian celebration of celebration. Friends who’d been together for 20 years and 3 children had finally decided to marry and they’d erected 3 marquees, gathered countless musicians, spit roasted pork, pumped barrels of local brewed beer and laid out local wines. We drank, the kids ricocheted around a bouncy castle and the various bands strummed Lou Reed, Pulp, The White Stripes and The Rolling Stones.
Around half eight my daughter wanted to go to bed. My wife was in a swirl of cigarette smoke and red wine so I took my six year old back to the house and lay with her as she fell asleep. When she was down I wandered back, found my son still bouncing inside the castle and my wife smiling. We danced some more and my son appeared grinning and asking for juice. I carried him over my shoulder and we wrestled over orange juice and made animal sounds, him drunk on sugar and me on my ninth beer and fourteenth wine.
At around midnight he came back, finally tired and asked for bed. I walked him back and lay with him as I had done with his sister. He was hiccoughing and each time he tried to doze off he would shudder and snap awake. This started to distress him given he was hugely over tired.
“Unconditional love” boomed the voice of my grandfather (played tonight by James Earl Jones).
“Dad I can’t sleep” my son hiccoughed.
“Don’t worry mate, we’re going to get rid of those hiccoughs.”
“How?” he asked and hiccoughed again and James Earl Jones boomed again.
“With unconditional love.”
My son couldn’t hear him and I didn’t think he’d appreciate Darth Vader offering him love so I pulled him to me.
I was supremely confident that this would work, and I was drunk. So I guess in truth I was drunk therefore I was confident that I could do anything.
“I’m going to put my hand on your tummy mate and you’re going to stop hiccoughing and fall asleep.”
He hiccoughed again and became agitated. I shushed him and held my hand there and thought quite simply “I love you unconditionally” and my hand grew warm and his hiccoughing stopped.
He instantly fell asleep, I hiccoughed once and thought “Well fuck, that was unexpected.”
I went back to the party pretty chuffed. I’d woken some dormant X Man power.
I found my wife and told her about it. She gently indicated that I was a little drunk and perhaps we
should go and get a little drunker together and maybe have one or two more cigarettes and pretend we were in our twenties.
Later, dancing to a punk version of Common People, it struck me that the ability to faith heal hiccoughs was useless. It was the dumbest power I could possibly have, akin to being able to always make bread land butter side up when dropped or know how many times the guy next to me at work will go to the bathroom each day. It was pointless.
I remembered the time I had had an out of body experience. I’d looked down on myself sleeping and then drifted up to the ceiling where I had had a really good look at the light fixture and the cobwebs and then just hung there. I got bored. I was just floating on the ceiling. So I drifted back to my body and thought “well that was pointless.”
So if you have a child hiccoughing and I am drunk I’ll try and help, or if you want your ceiling assessed, again I’ll try and help. I have to say though for hiccoughs counting bald people in your head (honestly it works) or sipping water from the other side of the cup may work better. And when it comes to ceilings maybe trust a building inspector ahead of sleeping me.
In fact skip the faith healing, just go to the doctors or rub some natural goats yogurt on it and hope it doesn't ooze.
I do love my kids unconditionally, so for that at least can I get a hallelujah?