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Discovering the Healing Spirit of Christ

It was not always this way for me: of health, vigor, and being free of illness. From infancy, illness was a part of my life. Until I was a teenager, there were weekly trips over the bridge to Philadelphia to receive allergy shots. There were many bouts with bronchitis, otitis, and tonsillitis. It was accepted that this was “the way it is.”

Praying for recovery or for diminishment of allergies and illnesses was not on my radar. I enjoyed singing and created songs that blessed anyone I had heard about who was suffering.

I prayed for my dad to get better and not die. He suffered from a brain tumor. At the time, we did not know it was the unspoken word “cancer.” He lived another eight years in torment from pain, nausea, vomiting, double vision, and several craniotomies. Looking back, it was all useless: metastases were taking over his brain.

My father lived long enough to know that I had graduated from high school. Now I was the head of the household who took care of my grieving mother. I worked part-time and stayed home with Mom on the other days.

Some of the girls from our town kept calling to get me to drive them to a bar where they danced for free: no drinking, just dancing. I did not want to go; I was depressed after losing my father. After several calls from friends, I gave in. I enjoyed dancing, especially in a bar where the age limit was 21.

It was fun and I drove my friends several times. Then one of the employees at the bar asked if I would like to take a motorcycle ride. It was late and cold, but I went for it. The man who asked me was ten years older than me. He had ideas about life that were far and away unknown to me. He had been married before, he said. The red flags were waving, and yet, my need for attention exceeded the signs. I began seeing him.

In a few months, I became pregnant, and a few months after that, we married. Our first child, a little boy, died at birth. I was too ill to attend his buriaI and slipped into a deep depression. I stopped going to church, and did not talk to anyone.

For the next ten years, I filled my life with being a good mother, homemaker, and volunteer at the children’s school. Two children and housekeeping kept me busy. I lost my faith.

I had yet to meet any of my in-laws. So I saved enough for a family trip to Denver, Colorado, in August. We planned to stay with my sister-in-law and her family. They were not religious in any way. They were farming folks from the Midwest, and we fit right in.

A couple of days into our visit, it was announced we would be going camping in the Rockies. August was the hottest month, yet we needed winter clothes! It could drop down below freezing in the mountains in August. We would be at least 8,000 feet up! We went to the local thrift shop and bought warm winter wear for our adventure.

That evening after dinner, we piled into a pickup with a camper and headed to Estes Park. We slept in the back of the pickup with the tailgate open and looked up at the meteors that were dancing across the dark night sky.

We awoke to a clear, blue sky and hummingbirds buzzing around our heads. Breakfast was enjoyed at a picnic table with a view of granite mountains rising up into the sky. After we ate, we packed up and drove to the park.

There was a place where we could climb up to Hanging Lake. The path was just a mile and a half long and practically straight up the side of the mountain. All of us began to climb the rocky path. We came to a cool, clear stream and took a sip from it. It began snowing, and we were glad we had winter coats. We resumed our climb; it was very steep. Finally, there it was: Hanging Lake. Looking around we realized we were above the treeline.

It was completely still. The lake was in a low-lying area. It was shallow and clear with some moss at the rim. There was a reflection of the clear, blue sky in the water. Now we were on a more level area.

A Voice in the Wilderness

We broke up into small groups. I was alone and walked slowly to the edge of the mountain to see what I could. Deep-green pines grew on the side of the mountain. Then—wham—I felt a big thump straight into my chest! What was that? In the next moment, a voice spoke: “I am here.” I took a deep breath and realized it was God. It had to be. This experience cracked my heart open. Then all was still again. Looking around, I was still alone. I started to look for my family. They had been off exploring, and now they were ready to climb back down. I joined them, and we began our descent. There was no mention by anyone of an experience similar to mine.

I kept the revelation to myself. Now my soul knows the Great Spirit is everywhere. What a feeling it is: as if I had a big secret! I kept it in my heart.

Where to Take My Secret?

This simple act of recognizing the Spirit of Christ (or the Great Spirit) filled my thoughts. This was a challenging task to process. What was the answer? Returning to a church was the last thing I wanted.

Perhaps my step-father, a weighty Friend, could help. He lived a life that exemplified his beliefs. He was kind, funny, generous, and a leader in the community. He loved my mother, and they enjoyed traveling and socializing. Calling my mother was the next step.

A few days later I was given the name of a meeting close by. I called, and a member of the meeting called a few days later. She told me about another meeting that had Sunday school for children. It felt right that my daughters could benefit from this way of life. Another call and a friendly woman explained the Sunday school would begin after school started. This October will come soon enough. Perhaps going to their service a week before would give me a feel for what to expect.

Testing the Experience

Finally the time arrived. The meetinghouse was off of the main street, and there was a private school across the driveway. I began to walk up the old brick porch to enter the open door, and a man stopped me and asked me where I was going. He introduced himself and invited me to the pancake breakfast. It was being held in the school cafeteria. We walked across the drive and into the brick building. I found a seat, sat down, and enjoyed pancakes. Other parents were there and introduced themselves. We exchanged information about our children.

Meeting for worship began at 11:00 a.m. I had arrived in time to join the early 9:00 a.m. worship, which was intended for families with children. It lasted 30 minutes.

I finally entered the meetinghouse. The benches were filling up. A person called “the greeter” directed me to an empty bench in the rear area. The room was so still. No one was whispering to their neighbor.

I sat down alone on the bench. Suddenly, a soft, orange light surrounded me, and I heard the familiar voice I had heard in the Rocky Mountains: “Welcome home.” Did anyone else hear that voice? I felt warm and secure. I sat in the silence and closed my eyes. After a while, a woman stood and spoke; then she sat down. Time passed, and then a man stood up, spoke, and sat back down. Time passed. Then a man turned to his neighbor and offered his hand, which she shook. Had it been an hour already? No clock was available. People were smiling and everyone was saying “good morning” to their neighbor. Finally, a person in the front of the room asked if there were any visitors. I stood and gave my name.

Anxious to get home, I got in my car and departed. I had so much to think about. What a wonderful feeling! No minister telling me how to pray, what to think, or how to act. My spirit was being nurtured and fed in a way that began to mend the hole in my soul.

My children and I began attending weekly Sunday school and worship. I was making friends and learning the practices of Friends. There was so much to learn: Advices, Faith and Practice, unprogrammed vs. programmed meetings.

After the experience of living with my dad and watching him slowly die, all the while without complaint, while the rest of the family carried on in denial, I vowed to change my lifestyle. Losing weight was my top priority, next was to quit smoking and begin a yoga practice. I went to night county college to learn about nutrition and chemistry. Someone suggested I would make a good nurse. A family in my meeting invited me to have dinner with them to speak to their daughter, a recent nursing graduate from the county college. It was very informative and inspiring. I decided to do it! I enrolled; received a scholarship; and two years later, I earned my degree and a nursing license.

After a break in the summer to be with my daughters, I began working in a hospital. It was challenging, and I liked it. My supervisor knew of my dedication to a natural lifestyle. She shared a course coming up at a holistic center on healing. A nurse who was a student of the founder of this practice was teaching the course. I was ready to learn a method that was drug-free and created by a nurse. I enrolled.

The healing practice is called therapeutic touch. I left the center knowing I had found the answer to my quest. I talked to my supervisor about practicing it on the unit and was told not now. Then I proposed it to the sister who was beginning to offer tai chi classes in the Catholic hospital. Not yet, I was told. (Ironically, 20 years later, the same hospital opened a holistic practice and school.)

Healing Christ

I heard that George Fox had performed healings. George, our founder, believed in the restorative power of Christ. I began to focus on this and how it fit into my life and belief system. The healing energy of Jesus Christ can be used today in all healing work. In my practice, I ask Christ, the Healer, to assist me in this healing.

At Friends General Conference’s annual Gathering, there is a healing group that practices healing arts. They offer their services to anyone who is led to come and get a healing session. My husband is also a holistic practitioner. He and I participated in these healing groups with great results for the people we’ve worked with.

A healing support group was formed at our local meeting. Several other healing support groups have begun since attending one of our healings. There is a meeting for healing held monthly on Zoom. As our aging population prefers to stay home, Zoom seems to answer the need for connection.

What is the best way of healing to serve the world and all its inhabitants? I am open to the still, small voice that guides me. Healing can begin in our hearts and minds if we intend. Also, to paraphrase George Fox, let us walk peacefully on the earth answering that of the Great Spirit in all we meet.

Moon Beiferman-Haines

Moon Beiferman-Haines is a member of Westfield (N.J.) Meeting. She is a mother, grandmother, spouse, healer, gardener, and lover of Gaia. Moon has a postgraduate degree in complementary integrated therapies from Drexel University and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Rowan University. The latest addition to her family is Tor, a sleek, gray feral cat.

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