Friday, May 01, 2009
Weird Happenings In My Christian Walk
I thought I would share some incidents in my Christian walk that were strange but true. Things that didn’t shake my faith, but made me shake my head and think, “Did that just happen?”
When I was around 18 years old I started to spend some time singing songs and talking to my peers at different coffeehouses and churches throughout Northern Kentucky, Southern Ohio and Indiana. I did it for the Love of God and to share with others the change that accepting Jesus into my life brought about in me. I never thought of doing this as a living or getting paid. It was my gift and I shared it.
I spent a good deal of time at the Jesus House in Cincinnati singing, talking and encouraging. I always got a good response. It was such a blessing. Towards the end of each night I would ask the people to stand in a circle and sing We Are One In The Spirit. Afterwards we would pray and then have silent prayer, then praise and then end the night. I felt blessed and figured all were of the same mind. Years later a girl confided in me.
“You remember Marc how we used to get in a circle and hold hands or put our arms around each other and sing? Well one night we were in the midst of this and I was feeling blessed until I felt a hand creep up my back and unhook my brassiere.”
She went on to say that she stood there shocked for a minute and then excused herself to go upstairs and adjust her clothing.
I had no idea. I was shocked hearing about it. I was very naive and believed that all were there to hear about The Lord. One of the rules of life is that creeps live among us. We can't get around that.
Billy Graham came to Cincinnati in the late 1970’s and he spent 4 days holding a revival at the Cincinnati Coliseum, which is now called by another name. Linny and I went to this event for 2 or 3 nights. We even took my Mom with us on this night.
This arena is the same venue where The Who tragedy took place. To get there you first have to find a parking place and then walk quite a distance. Once you are in the gate, you must walk in circles until you find your isle. I think the Graham Crusade was open seating, so you would probably go to the nearest opening to the arena and then you have to climb up or down stairs. The event was packed. It took a lot of exertion for someone young to find a seat, much less an octogenarian.
I had started working at my father’s grocery store after spending almost 4 years at The Jewish Hospital working first as an orderly and then as a surgical technician. I say this since those skills came in handy this night.
We had been seated about 15 minutes when an elderly couple came walking up the stairs, along with the much more elderly mother. These people were in their mid 70’s and the mother must have been in her late ‘80’s. From their clothing I could tell they were country people. The husband and wife sat in the two remaining seats in the isle across from me. The mother took the last seat in the isle above them. Someone on the floor was singing a Gospel song and the crowd eyes were glued to this man.
My eyes were on these old folks since I am a compulsive people watcher. Halfway through the song I noticed the older woman’s head slump on her chest. I had seen that slump before while working at the nursing home section of Jewish Hospital.
She died. Right there at the Billy Graham Crusade.
I immediately got up and tried to arouse her, which did not do much good. Another fellow came over to see what was happening and I said, “We need to get this lady to the first aid department.” I got behind her and grabbed her like I had been taught as an orderly to lift and the other fellow got her legs and we carried her up the steps. By the Grace of God, the First Aid Station was immediately behind us so we carried her in to the stretcher. The nurse thanked us and we went back to our seats. The ladies family followed us up the stairs and into the station.
After the Crusade I went back and talked with the nurse, who confirmed that the lady had expired probably from heart failure.
As a certified Jesus freak, I felt confident to take on anything because God would provide. I still feel that way; however I have come to the realization I am not equipped to handle all situations.
A couple of events occurred when I was spending time with some friends that lived in a Christian Community we called the Christian Information Committee or CIC. Thinking back on the moniker it sounded kinda’ commie, didn’t it? But I digress.
My friend Kirk had lots of problems with his vision. He had developed cataracts at an early age. He was legally blind in one eye. One night I came over to see what was going on, since we usually had a prayer meeting or Bible study. Kirk was lying on the floor writhing in pain and holding his eye. We all laid hands on him and prayed that God would heal him. Nothing miraculous was happening.
Eventually one of the girls, Myra, who was a registered nurse, came home since her 11: 30 shift had ended. She said we need to take him to the hospital right now. So we got into her car and mine and drove to Deaconess Hospital were she was employed.
Kirk had no insurance, no job and no money. He spent his entire day running CIC, working on the newspaper they published as an evangelistic tool and organizing events.
The diagnosis was that a vessel had ruptured in his eye and there was a large blood clot. An opthalogic surgeon was called in for his opinion. Kirk was blind in this eye, if the clot moved the situation would become much worse, so the eye needed to be removed. For the sake of cosmetics, the doctor would remove the contents of the eye and then implant a sphere to maintain symmetry. Kirk would be fitted with a removable cap that looked like an eye.
The miracle was not just that all of this was accomplished, but that Kirk was so well known and had so many friends in Cincinnati the operation and hospitalization was all paid for.
Another episode involved a schizophrenic guy that came to hear about Jesus and then slipped into what we believed was a Trans. I think it was probably some sort of a seizure. But what did we know? He eventually came out of it and became very violent. The police were called and took him away.
We had another such incident at a home that we would go to for Bible studies. This ex-pastors house was crowded every Wednesday night for a teaching that he had prepared and some fellowship afterward. I was not at the house on this occasion, but heard about it the next day.
One of the regulars, unbeknownst to anyone suffered from schizophrenia. He was a normal guy, pursuing an engineering degree and learning more about God’s love. He figured he didn’t need his medication. Big mistake. That night the hallucination began in his mind. He stripped off all his clothing and ran out in the yard dancing and screaming and then ran up the street.
Once again someone called the police.
This fellow came back the next week, apologized and left. We never saw him again.
I was asked to play music at a coffee house. It was not the Jesus house and I am not going to divulge the name. As I recall some folks from CIC went with me. I played for about an hour and took a break.
The director asked that we pray for one of the guys that attended the place on a regular basis. I was familiar with a lot of the folks there. They seemed like a great group and I was used to being asked to pray with someone. So we all went in the backroom and asked this guy what we needed to pray about.
This guy went on to say that he was worried. He had committed sexual sin and wanted God to heal him and give him strength. So we said to him of course brother, we will pray for you and the Lord will answer you. So we all laid hands on him and prayed.
He eventually joined in by saying, “Dear God please forgive me for sleeping with Angie and Reggie and Cynthia and Jackie and Lisa and Mona and Nancy and Jane and Evelyn and Sandy and Janice and Ann and Samantha and Mary and Mandy and Fran and Connie and Betty and Darlene and Edna…
He rattled off the names of about 20 girls and I knew every one of them (BTW I have made these names up to preserve the privacy of those ladies.). I was thinking, "Son you might have a problem, but what the heck’s wrong with these women around here, they have the morals of a jack rabbit!?"
I was also thinking, “Damn it friend. You’ve slept with the entire girl scout troop and me still a virgin!” I don’t know whatever became of that guy. I suspect he eventually got an STD.
By 1977 I was married and living in Fort Thomas in a small house behind the Highland Country Club. I was asked to play in Florence at a coffee house that was run by a new church group called the Vineyard. I was more than happy to go there.
I drove down US 27 to the new exit that took me onto the new exit to I-275 and out to Florence. Halfway through the night someone made the announcement that The Beverly Hills Supper Club was on fire. Beverly Hills was only a couple of miles from my home. We all prayed for the situation that night and decided to go on home.
The exit was blocked and I had to take a roundabout way home. My family was not there when I arrived. Linny had just had our daughter Rachael and was sitting on the front porch when people dressed in even clothes started making their way through our backyard. They had walked down the road from Beverly Hills and through the golf course to escape the fire and some how wound up in our backyard.
Linny and the kids walked up to my parent’s house which was less than a block up the street. I think they later went on to her parent’s house in Newport. We were reunited the next day. I couldn’t get out onto the main street after I got home and Linda and the kids couldn’t get home.
225 people died as a result of that fire. The cause was said to be faulty wiring. From the club’s history, it was probably arson. Our town has never been the same since.
Shortly after that my daughters and their mother were driving down US 27. Linny glanced in the rearview mirror and the kids were not in their car seats. Linny panicked and pulled over. Elizabeth had pulled her sister Rachael to the floor and was lying on top of her.
Linny said, “What are you doing Boo?”
Elizabeth said, “I’m protecting my sissy from Beverly Hills.”