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Can I get a Hallelujah?

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I am a faith healer.

I never used to be, but I cracked it at a wedding this year.

My grandfather was a faith healer with a crucifix on his palm and healings of scattered folk with moderate to mild illnesses.

When I was a teenager I had my liver removed and bathed in blue liquid by my grandfathers’ spirit guide. I can’t speak for its success, but I guess I never did get hepatitis.

I did wonder why we weren’t all bathed every night in the blue liquid of the Gods since it was so powerful. Given heaven was meant to be infinite, surely this blue balm wasn’t in short supply?

My grandfather explained that the blue liquid came from a blue planet where we were sometimes reincarnated. A blue planet peopled with bubbles. Life as a bubble, he told me earnestly, was the most peaceful existence we could hope for.

Then he told me that once I learnt to love unconditionally, I would be a great healer.

I would lay my hands on the afflicted and their pains would leave them. At that time, I was a teenager and preferred the idea of laying my hands on Linda Hamilton from The Terminator rather than pustules and problems. I didn’t want to love Linda unconditionally, I wanted to love her extremely specifically.

It did occur to me though that healing powers would be akin to super powers. I could help the flat chested, the bad haired, the high heeled — basically, the females.

But that unconditional love thing … it was just too much commitment for a teenager, so I forgot all about it, beyond the occasional drunk pub boasts:

“One of these days mate, I’ll be a faith healer….”

*****

Then I had my road to Damascus moment.

My epiphany.

My powers came to life and I healed.

Can I get a Hallelujah?

*****

We were at a party. A huge celebration of celebration.

Friends who’d been together for 20 years and three children had decided to marry.

They’d erected three 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 8.30pm, my daughter wanted to go to bed. My wife was in a mid life swirl of cigarette smoke and wine so I took my six year old back to the house and lay with her as she fell asleep. I wandered back and found my son still bouncing inside the castle and my wife smiling.

We danced and my son appeared grinning and asking for more juice. I carried him over my shoulder and we wrestled over orange juice and made father and son animal sounds, him high on sugar and me on my ninth beer or fourteenth wine or perhaps even on to the strawberry bourbon drink that caused some chap to put me in a headlock and tell me repeatedly that I wasn’t funny.

Man, he must have been drunk.

At around midnight, my son came back, finally tired and asking for bed. I walked him back and lay beside him as I had done with his sister. He was hiccoughing and each time he tried to doze off he would snap awake. This started to distress him given he was over tired and he became teary.

“Unconditional love,” boomed the voice of my grandfather (played 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, hiccoughing again. 

James Earl Jones boomed through the night:

“With unconditional love.”

My son couldn’t hear James and I didn’t think he’d appreciate Darth Vader offering him love.

I was supremely confident this would work, I was 40, drunk and undefeatable.

“I’m going to put my hand on your tummy and you’re going to stop hiccoughing and fall straight to sleep.”

“Really?” He hiccoughed again and I shushed him.

I placed my hand on his belly and thought simply “I love you.”

My hand grew warm, the music in the distance pounded, the smoke from the countless cigarettes danced in the moonlight and … his hiccoughing stopped.

His eyes closed and I saw the beautiful sight of my sleeping 8 year old beside my sleeping 6 year old.

Then I hiccoughed.

*****

I went back pretty chuffed. I’d woken my dormant X-Man power. 

I found my wife and told her about it. She indicated that I was drunk and perhaps we should go and get drunker, maybe even have one or two more lovely cigarettes and pretend we were in our twenties.

Later, dancing to a punk cover of Common People played by the groom, I remembered the time I had had an out of body experience. I’d looked down on myself sleeping and then drifted to the ceiling where I had had a really good and really dull look at the light fixture and the cobwebs. I got bored. I was just floating there on the ceiling. So I drifted back to my body and thought “well that was pointless.”

My two superpowers seem to be floating by ceilings and curing hiccoughs while drunk.

If you have a hiccoughing child (and I’m drunk) I’ll try and help.

That is as long as you don’t mind a drunk 40 year old touching your child and if you don’t mind then you likely need to reassess your values.

If you want your ceiling assessed I’ll float above you and your sleeping partner and have a good look.

In all honesty, though, counting bald people in your head is the best cure for hiccoughs (it really works) and, when it comes to ceilings, trust a building inspector ahead of an astral traveling me.

In fact, skip the faith healing altogether.

Go to the doctors if something bothering you, or rub goat’s yogurt on it and hope it doesn't turn yellow.

My wife assured me I was an idiot when I stuck with the healing story the morning after the party. She assures me I’m an idiot when I tell it at parties. Now I’ve written it down she’ll tell me I’m an idiot again.

Maybe I am an idiot, but I’m her idiot.

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