As gently as falls an autumn leaf, she laid her hand on Eliza’s head: “Ah, woman, God isn’t a printed book to be carried aroun’ by a man in fine clothes, nor a cross danglin’ at the watch chain of a priest.  God takes a hand wherever he can find it, and just does what he likes with it.  Sometimes he takes a Bishop’s hand and lays it on a child’s head in benediction, and then he takes the hand of a doctor to relieve pain, the hand of a mother to guide a child, and sometimes he takes the hand of a poor old craither like me to give comfort to a neighbor.  But they’re all hands touched by His Spirit, and His Spirit is everywhere lukin for hands to use”.

~From My Lady of The Chimney Corner by Alexander Irvine.  Graciously pointed to by my wife Debbie and Pastor Maxie Dunnam

[I] have made my best poker playing attempt to tell this story.  I’ve tried to keep my emotional cards close to the vest.  I wanted to communicate my concerns and my objections, how they were formed and how they played out.  I sit here now having a difficult time keeping my emotions in check, as this has become a spiritual watershed moment in my life.  In this case and in this regard I believe I can also speak for Lyle in that his life was changed and changed for the better.

Objections sidelined or removed, I sat next to Lyle for approximately an hour and a half witnessing Dr. Nemeh pray for folks before it would be our chance to occupy our small circles.  I noticed in myself and forgive me Lyle, also in Lyle, a simplifying of mind as we waited our turn.  Moments, yes, that’s what I will choose to call it.  These moments were neither analyzed nor over thought in any way, moments that were only experienced.  I did not have access to a mirror but I can report a kinda silly look upon Lyle’s face as he took this all in.  My assumption is that I had a similar look upon mine.  I amused myself when just prior to being escorted forward; Lyle leaned to me and said, “Scott, you don’t have to go up if you don’t want to”.  I turned back to him and firmly stated, “My name is Jimmie and I take what he gimmie”.  In fact, at this point in the proceedings, I most likely would have pushed Lyle clean out of the way had there been but one spot left.

Up we go and as it were Lyle assumed spot number one, full house right, I immediately to his left.  Feeling only a bit self-conscious, as my turn to have many eyes upon me was nearing.  My heart, my soul had calmed by this point as I moved from being willing to desiring to be a part and become a recipient through Dr. Nemeh’s obvious connectedness.   I planned to pay special attention as Dr. Nemeh approached Lyle.  I wanted to be able to recall for him, recall for myself and recall for others what I had come to know was a special time in our lives.  Dr. Nemeh leaned in towards Lyle and asked him, “How are you doing”?  God bless Lyle once again as he responded something like, “Super good”.  I am thinking at this point that I may need to step in and speak for him, as by all accounts he was not doing “super good”.   The doctor rescued the situation by quickly following up with, “What’s going on”?  Regrouping, Lyle was able to explain what was going on with him.  After patiently and compassionately listening, the doctor, oddly in my opinion, asked Lyle, “How much vitamin D are you taking”?  I have to interrupt this story to tell you that the simplifying of our minds had nearly become complete.  Odd yes, but it is the best way to describe what happened to us, we became increasingly simple minded with each moment that passed.  Lyle turns to me as if I am going to have the answer and all he receives from my direction is a shrug.  He responds that he does not believe he is taking any vitamin D.  The doctor then suggests that he take 10,000 milligrams a day or some sort of number.   Dr. Nemeh, obviously aware of the dumbing factor of these prayer services, gently suggested to Lyle that if he couldn’t remember what he had been told that he could speak to one of the women out front and they would be able to help him.  This conversation ended at this point and Dr. Nemeh began as always, “Come Holy Spirit”…He began and then it got a bit peculiar.  Peculiar, as while I was attempting to pay attention, observe and be able to recall, the prayer for Lyle had become a private affair.   It was if some sort of invisible Plexiglas arose between us and I heard not another word.   My sense was that the prayer had become a private matter between Lyle, the doctor and Jesus.  I honestly could not tell you further details after “Come Holy Spirit” and before the doctor approached me and asked, “How are you doing”?

I suggest you now picture Patrick the Starfish.  Patrick being Spongebob’s buddy on Spongebob Square Pants.  I have honestly detailed earlier that I did not have a mirror but can report the picture of Patrick included here is exactly what Lyle was looking like at this point.  Once again, as the doctor approached me, the assumption is that I appeared similar.  “How you doing”?….“Super good”….”What’s going on”?  I am laughing now at the telling of this story as I contemplate how many thousands of times Dr. Nemeh has been part of this very same conversation.  How many Patrick the Starfish looks he has witnessed.  This particular starfish regrouped just enough to say aloud to the doctor, “I desire my cynical heart to be healed”.  This response coming after a number of weeks of consideration.  Consideration first as to whether I would march up front for prayer at all.   Consideration, I am currently ashamed of, which was borderline mocking at times.  The process though, the process and the moments I had experienced this day had laid me bare.  I was not capable at this point of anything but transparent honesty.  It was my true desire, that the cynical nature of my heart be healed.  While asking this of and I assume through the doctor, I was looking directly at his face.  I witnessed a look in his eyes and facial expression, which is as strong in recollection today as it was on the day it occurred.  I witnessed a knowing, an understanding.  I was certain that he either had an awareness of what I was going to say or knew that it was what I most needed.  In the twinkle of his eye and with the gentlest of nods he seemed to acknowledge my honesty.  “Come Holy Spirit”, and I felt his hand touch my shoulder.  I felt this touch and then I, the actual recipient of the prayer, lost all recollection of the time he was with me.  Similar in nature to being blocked out of Lyle’s prayer, I was excluded from my own.  I wanted so badly to hear the words and see the movements, sense the connection and even fall to the carpet if it were so.  The next thing I was aware of though was movement out of the corner of my eye, the movement of Dr. Nemeh moving to the next person in line.  Standing fairly dumbfounded for seconds before an electrical charge began developing in the base of my neck.  This electrical current, pleasant in nature, sat stationary in my neck and I wondered if it would stay there.  This sensation then began to move, moving slowly down through both shoulders, slowly through my forearms, into my hands and then escaping out of my fingertips simultaneously.  I recall standing there, slowly and deliberately wiggling my fingers as I tried to understand what had just occurred.

I am uncertain as to which of us returned to our seats first.  I know that for several minutes we both stood on our individual circles before being seated.  I also know we both sat in silence for several minutes after sitting down.  I studied this a bit, this after party so to speak.  I will report that almost to a person there was a period of calm, regrouping, prayerful contemplation of the event, which was just experienced.  Most would regain their emotional and physical footing and shortly thereafter, they would leave the room.  At some point Lyle turned to me and asked, “Do you want to leave”?  I replied, “Umm, No way”.   (I will add, for those who know me well, the appropriate adjective should be inserted in the middle of my response.)  Lyle quickly came back with, “Good”!  There were a few exchanges like, “How long was he in front of me”?  Exchanges answered collectively with, “ I have no idea”.  We did go out at one point and Lyle was able to speak with one of the women about vitamin D.  I am honored to allow Lyle to tell this portion of this story, as I believe it becomes a turning point on his journey.   We sat in this Spirit filled room for a couple more hours, watching, praying for those being prayed for and grinning upon what we had traveled to Cleveland and become a part of.  We sat until we were kindly asked to leave and then we did what we assume all do upon witnessing the Spirit of God; we went to Wendy’s, enjoyed a square cheeseburger, a Chocolate Frosty and began the debriefing.

I fully promise, there is but one more installment in my ramble concerning this trip.  I desire, as briefly as possible, to describe the significant and seemingly lasting effect upon my faith and upon my heart.   So one more from me and then I will, with anticipation, turn this over to my now dear friend Lyle to tell a story of a changed heart and I pray a full and complete healing.