Jeg Liker Brandojanuar 27, 2009
“Over the course of three weeks Marlon learned how to live in a wheelchair, wear heavy leg braces, rely on only his arms for movement. More important, he discovered the sources of mental endurance that allowed paraplegics to deal with the attacks of “Why me?” resentment and depression. Most of the patients had a tough, ironic humor drained of lament and self-pity. He picked that up as well. When the men in the ward realized that Marlon had come to understand, not merely mimic, they accepted him, shared memories and meals and asked him to come along-in his wheelchair-when they visited their favorite hangout, a restaurant called the Pump Room…
As the group sat in their wheelchairs downing their drinks, a wild-eyed woman entered the restaurant and rounded on them. She recognized the young men as veterans and told them they needed to believe in Jesus. His healing powers would let them walk again. The men listened with growing unease. They were not there to be given a sermon; they were there to get drunk and have some rare laughs. That was of no concern to the lady.
While the others looked away Marlon gave her all his attention, a rapt, exalted look on his face. She concentrated on him alone, urging the paraplegic to get born again.
“You know ma’am,” he responded, “I believe you. I believe in the Lord.”
“Well, I want you to believe. You should believe it, soldier, because I know that with the Lord’s work you can recover.”
“I do believe! I do believe!” Marlon gripped the sides of his wheelchair until his knuckles whitened. “I feel the Lord has come right into this room and into my body. The Lord is in my body. I feel it…”
As he started to raise himself, the tension was palpable. Busboys moved in, anticipating a hard fall. But Marlon kept rising until he stood erect. Step by ungainly step he made his way to the bar. Then, without warning, he suddenly broke into an improvisatory dance, complete with leaps and jetes. The woman shrieked and fled as laughter filled the Pump Room. The loudest roars came from the wheelchair table.”