Friday, March 14, 2014

Walking Trees

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“The patient has arrived, Sir.”

“Thank you, Gabe. Let’s get started.”

The operating room was silent except for the quiet breathing of the Surgeon and his assistant. The patient was not physically present; this surgeon’s technique did not require her to be.

“I see it right there,” said Gabe, pointing to a tiny blotch nestled in the cerebrum.

The Surgeon nodded his approval.

“Well done. That nodule was discovered just the other day. It’s a good thing the patient came to me immediately before it got a chance to extend itself farther. As it was, it almost went from thought to action.”

“What caused this one, Sir?”

“It was nothing really. A friend neglected to call. There was no slight intended, just a busy schedule that got in the way.”

“It doesn’t sound like enough to do any harm.”

“Small and insignificant as it looks now, it would have led to a much bigger problem if she had allowed it to fester.”

Gabe scratched his head.

“One thought would lead to another?”

“And eventually to an action that everyone would regret.”

He reached out and touched the spot that his assistant had indicated. Instantly, the cancer-like cell was exorcised, dissolved without leaving a trace. The Surgeon paused, searching the nooks and crannies of his patient’s mind. When he found what he was looking for, he continued.

“See that over there, Gabe, the dark shadow covering that whole area to the right? There’s one that hasn’t been turned over.”

Under the Surgeon’s light, it wasn’t hard to see the ominous mass. Its tentacles, slight, seemingly anorexic, reached out into the cerebellum. Though their tips seemed innocuous, it was clear that their roots had grown thick and fat, bulging with menace.

“That’s the result of an old wound, a fifteen year old memory that our friend here has not released to me yet.”

The Surgeon’s assistant thought for a moment, his face growing more perplexed as the seconds passed.

“Why don’t you just touch it and take it away like you did this last one?”

As soon as he said it, the little assistant blushed with shame. He knew the reason. Hadn’t it already been mentioned several times in this single conversation? The Surgeon smiled, aware of what had caused the sudden flush.

“You know I won’t touch it until she lets it go. She has chosen to harbor an old wrong, and she can justify her reasons for holding on to the memory of it. She nurtures that original memory with every additional imagined offense. The scab gets ripped off; the wound reopens and grows.”

Gabe peered through time and eternity at the patient whose thoughts lay open before them.

“Why does she hang on to something so dangerous? Fifteen years is a long time.”

“Our friend thought that such a little black spot of painful memory was harmless, that she had it under control, that she could handle it. She didn’t understand that one unhealed memory would poison every other thought, every other action. For fifteen years, the relationship between the offender and the offended has been diseased, not enough to kill it, but enough to cripple it. It has chained the two of them, kept them from enjoying grace, from reveling in the warmth of close friendship, and from living out their conjoined mission as I would like to see it lived out in them. This memory, and the offense that made it, will take a while to heal completely.”

Time was no obstacle to the Great Physician and, even though Gabe had been hanging around humans for so long that he had come to share their appreciation of instant solutions to immediate needs, he knew that some things took time.

“Trees walking?”*

The Surgeon laughed.

“Ahhh, you remember that event, do you, Gabriel? Yes, for her the healing of this cancer will not be instant. The roots of the disease have had time, and her permission, to go all through the body. Pockets of resistance will pop up. If she is wise, she will bring those moribund memories to me immediately and not allow them to affect her joy, her peace, and her passion. Slowly but inevitably, the memories will be healed—if she wants them to be.”

Gabe was silent as he watched the spread of the cancerous mass of unhealed memory contaminating everything in its path.

Better let this one go soon, or you’ll be walking in the trees for a long, long time.

*Mark 8:22-26

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