Did you ever have such a bizarre experience that you kept it to yourself because you were so stupefied that it actually happened? She laid her hands on me, in a restroom in a restaurant called Crossroads, in Cameron, Wisconsin. Her startling, trancelike behavior caught me totally off- guard!
The encounter ensued as she and I occupied the two-stall facility before leaving the restaurant. It’s not unusual for two women of the senior citizens variety to exchange pleasantries with a fellow-squatter, sight unseen. The telltale voices of elderly impatience have no qualms about sharing their bladder woes, and how they are familiar with every public ladies room in a hundred mile radius, going on about the disgracefully thin tissue most places supply with no regard for those with delicate conditions.
This person wasn’t actually speaking, however, engrossed in a spirited trill of a robust, Southern Baptist wail, as if overcome with a spasm of emotion. Smirking and curious, I nearly toppled over trying to get a glimpse of her shoes, just breaths away, as though that would cast any light on who this singing soul might be…and it wasn’t even Sunday! I couldn’t bring myself to leave until I saw her (it.) I chuckled, “Do you feel that way all over?” I asked for it!
As we unlatched and emerged from the defaced, stuffy, metal enclosures, facades of privacy, a small, plain, deeply tanned lady bounced out, like she wanted to do the boogaloo, her head jerking up and down and side to side, with a blast of something that in no way resembled “Onward Christian Soldiers!” White streaks mingling with her tangled, black hair and leathery character lines gave her face a mystical aura.
What she had been saying rang loud and clear. Delighted to share her exuberant message, that “the good Lord is my strength and my salvation and He loves each one of us unconditionally, though we are sinners. When we welcome Him into our daily lives, He will care for us like the lost sheep.”
It all happened so fast! She noticed my slight shuffle and bent posture immediately! I explained that I get weak sometimes due to Parkinson’s Disease. I hadn’t quite made it to the restroom door when her opened hands firmly clutched my head, vibrating to the intensity of persistent petitions to God to heal my body ravaged with disease.
She steadied me then as she adroitly guided me between tables, where noon diners and hustling waitresses paused to stare, all the while chanting her “hands on” petitions to God to cleanse me from all iniquity and physical distress. My mind kept repeating, “I don’t believe it!” I told her that my husband was waiting for me out front.
I couldn’t look at Pat as this doting lady, her arms around my waist, kindly opened the car door for me, placing a small pamphlet in my hand. We met eye to eye momentarily. Somehow I was moved to thank her for praying for me. Her face appeared softer and kinder then, as she drifted into the brightness of a new day and out of sight.
Pat’s expression was like, “What the…?” As I told my befuddled husband about the experience, we had to laugh, reasoning that the woman must be eccentric and out of touch with reality.
I opened the little booklet and thoughtfully read the familiar Bible verses. Somehow the messages always seem new and uplifting. Giving my unusual encounter some serious thought, I said, “You know, that lady isn’t crazy! She obviously lives out her convictions with genuine happiness, devoting her faith to the needs of others and for a more merciful and compassionate world. She’s really something!”
“ I wish I had what she has.”