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Being Healed – Whether You Want It or Not

As I’ve mentioned from time-to-time in this blog, being blind or visually impaired increases the likelihood of you having some bizarre experiences that most of humanity misses out on.

I was reminded of this not long ago when swapping “You’re not going to believe this” stories with a couple of visually impaired friends. The fun began when the other three people at the table began telling about the times when some stranger wanted to “heal” them.

“We were eating in the food court at the mall,” one member of the group remembered, “when this guy suddenly materialized and announced he was going to heal me. I was totally dumbfounded. I’d never seen this guy before and couldn’t think of what to say. Finally, I just stammered, ‘We’re in the middle of lunch’. Of course, it made no difference; he just went ahead while we were trying to finish our dessert.”
This prompted a couple of other stories of encounters with unsolicited faith-healers. “I remember visiting a friend at his job,” someone else recalled. “It was customary for some employees and friends to get together before work for an informal, voluntary meeting for a few minutes to start the day. One or two people might share some passage of Scripture or read something they’d found especially inspiring. After the meeting had broken up and the room was beginning to empty, this guy walks over and announces, not asks, that he is going to ‘heal’ me and puts his hand on my head. I have absolutely no idea who this guy was.” As this man added, “Since one of my eyes was plastic, ‘healing’ me would have been a miracle of Biblical proportions.”

Honesty compels me to admit that such experiences are not common, but they’re far from unheard of. After all, three of the four people at the table had the same experience, and one high-school student in the group had already gone through two attempted healings.

Having heard a number of stories like this over a lifetime, there seem to be some common themes: (1) all such efforts are unsolicited; (2) the person doing the “healing” is a complete stranger; (3) “healings” always take place in a public setting – the more public, the better; and (4) the person being “healed” is never given the option as to whether they want to participate in the process.

Such efforts, one part good intention and many parts goofiness, spring from the assumption that the visually impaired subject is, in some way, “broken” and in need of repair.

Appearances to the contrary, these anecdotes have nothing to do with religion. They do, however, have a lot to do with the wackiness and insensitivity of some human beings. After all, the Constitution gives us the right to do truly dumb things, and all of us choose to exercise that right from time to time. It’s just that some of us do it in more spectacular ways.

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