The Tuggles

Episode 17: The Healing

December 8, 2017
healing

The team reached the city limits of Bloomington near mid-afternoon. Approaching an intersection, they hovered on the grassy incline at the side of the road, careful to stay out of traffic. With the light green, they continued onward to make it across the road before the signal changed. Before reaching the pavement, a small, red car heading down the road came to a sudden halt next to them, still lingering mostly in the street due to the absence of a shoulder.

The doors opened simultaneously on either side and an older man and woman exited in unison. Visibly distraught, the man urgently rounded the car, approaching Tim at the front of the pack.

“Will you please pray for my grandson?” the man asked, his eyes an inch shy of the bill of his ball cap. His wife followed behind him dabbing with a tissue at the corner of her eye behind her sunglasses.

Without hesitation, Tim dismounted. “Of course we will.” Lynn followed suit, briefly glancing behind them to check for any “Free Prayer” signs that may have spontaneously appeared across the side of their caravan.

“He is ten years old and he has meningitis,” the man explained. “It is getting progressively worse and the doctors are losing hope that he will show any signs of improvement. Already he is paralyzed on one side and shows extensive signs of brain damage.” He paused briefly to hold back more oncoming tears. “He hasn’t spoken in weeks and he shows no sign of expression at all. We just left the physical therapist’s office and it was the worst we have seen of him.”

Tears began to pour down the woman’s cheeks next to him. She remained silent, wiping them gingerly. The two couples joined hands in a circle.

“What’s his name?” Tim asked.

“Ryland.”

“Let’s pray,” Tim said softly. They bowed their heads in unison.

“Dear Heavenly Father, we come before You today and ask for Your hand upon this precious grandson, dear Ryland.” Tim’s words were cut off by a swiftly growing lump in his throat. “God, we ask You to heal him of this disease, and bring comfort to his loving family.” A long pause in the prayer was filled with sniffs in between the loud zoom of passing cars.

“Thank You for leading them to stop and ask for prayer. Thank You for intersecting our lives today. And thank You for the plans and purposes You have for this young man’s life.” He stifled the sob that threatened to take over his words altogether. “In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.”

Their hands dropped and the group collectively swept away tears from their faces.

“Where is he?” Tim asked.

“He is just a few blocks from here at the physical therapy office,” the grandpa responded.

“We are going to go by there and meet him,” Tim replied definitively. The couples finally introduced themselves to each other, almost forgetting that they hadn’t yet exchanged names. About that time, the grandpa’s cell phone rang.

“It’s my daughter, Ryland’s mother. He’s getting out right now,” he told Tim. “Well bring him down the street because there are some people I want him to meet,” the man spoke into the receiver.

There was a feed store a few hundred yards away from the intersection and they rode the horses into the parking lot to wait for Ryland, attracting more curious onlookers. Within minutes an employee of the store brought two water buckets out for the horses to drink.

A blue car pulled into the parking lot and a grandpa helped his red-haired, freckly grandson step out of the backseat. He wore a brace on his right arm and his right leg, indicative of his paralyzed side, and he stared at the ground a few feet in front of him, emotionless and still.

“Ryland,” his grandpa asked him, kneeling down to look into his eyes. “Do you want to pet a horse?”

The boy showed no reaction.

Tim put one knee down on the pavement next to the man and took off his hat.

“Hi, Ryland. My name is Tim, and I’d like to show you my horses.” He paused. “Would you like to see them?”

After another moment of stillness, the boy gave a very slight nod, still staring at the pavement.

Leading him over to the pack, Lynn directed him towards her horse, Bobby. His mother helped him raise his good arm to stroke the spotted horse’s hair.

“Ryland, would you like to go for a ride?” Lynn asked him. He nodded a little stronger this time.

The two men hoisted him up together and, with some difficulty, managed to straddle his leg around Bobby’s back and sit him up into the saddle, his feet dangling high above the stirrups. After explaining to him where to hold on to the saddle, Lynn took Bobby’s reins and began to walk him across the parking lot. Ryland’s mom followed alongside of her, cheering him on for being such a brave boy. His expression hardly changed and his eyes seemed to stare down into nothingness.

After a couple of circles on the side of the parking lot, Lynn sensed the Lord’s nudging to put her hat on Ryland’s head. She removed her whicker cowboy hat and came to a stop momentarily.

“Here, Ryland, I want to give you my hat to wear.”

She reached up and gently pulled him towards her to put it on his head.

“There you go. Now you’re a real cowboy,” she said with emphasis and a huge smile. She let out a soft cackle and Ryland’s expression lightened slightly. His eyes twinkled and he sat up a little taller in the saddle.

“You look amazing, Ryland!” his mother exclaimed, in awe at the visible shift in his demeanor. “That was the first reaction I have seen out of him in weeks,” she said to Lynn, marveling. They led him on another loop, smiling up at him, his gaze now lifted up to look straight ahead.

Suddenly, Ryland lifted his good arm above his head and shouted out, “Yee-haw!”

The mother gripped Lynn’s arm in a gasp and then burst into sobs, virtually unable to stand.

Tim shouted up at him, “Ride ‘em, Cowboy!” followed by joyous laughter. Lynn gawked, stunned, before breaking into her own joyful laugh followed by tears at the blessed miracle she was witnessing. The intensity of the moment gave way to celebration and gratefulness to the Lord and to each other for such a priceless gift to share in. The sobs of his mother became pure elation.

“He hasn’t shown any affect in months, let alone a bursting reaction like that,” she explained. “This is truly a miracle.” Her eyes welled up with grateful tears once again.

Half an hour later, Tim and Lynn hugged Ryland close as they said their goodbyes, and the blue car exited the parking lot. After returning from inside the store with a bag of horse feed, the grandpa held out a credit card to Tim.

“We want you to go eat dinner on us while we stay here and feed your horses,” he stated. “‘No’ is not an acceptable answer.” He extended his car keys with the other hand. “You have no idea what you have done for my family today.”

Tim looked up at him with tears in his eyes. “I have truly done nothing. This was the mighty work of God.”

He thanked the man for his boundless generosity and the horsemen climbed into the little red car, their hearts fuller than their stomachs would ever be.

 

 

 

 

 

READ MORE:

Previous–Episode 16: The Fever
Beginning–Episode 1: The Funeral

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