This post by Vox Day, and the subsequent comment thread, reminded me of an incident from my deep dark past.
When I was 17 I had jaw surgery to fix a massive overbite. It was the cumulative outcome of about 8 years of orthodontics and would be the thing that would finally fix my teeth and fix me (so I thought – but that’s another story).
During the surgery, something happened, so that when I woke up, with my jaws wired shut, I was unable to make a sound. The doctors thought I was messing about, but I literally could not make a sound from my throat.
After a nasal probe that had been helped along by a couple of shots of pharmaceutical grade cocaine (and damn, it was good!), the doctors were able to determine that one of my vocal cords had been dislocated, probably from some sort of tubes being pulled out.
The only solution to my problem was to wait until my jaws were unwired – in at least 8 weeks – and for the surgeons to go in and do another job to fix it. Apparently, even then, they weren’t sure it would get fixed. I could possibly be without my voice for the rest of my life.
I had to walk around with a pen and pad to communicate with other people. Although it did make for some comic moments, I was miserable throughout. I ended up keeping to myself more often than not because the energy of trying to communicate through constant writing was harrowing.
I did develop a penchant for writing bad self-indulgent poetry inspired by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, but there wasn’t much more I could’ve taken away from the experience, other than the process of going through it.
I was depressed…Almost wrist-slittingly depressed. My friends did rally around me and tried to cheer me up, but it was no use, until one fateful Sunday evening about 5 or 6 weeks into the ordeal.
A friend of mine, K., rang my house and told my parents that he wanted me to come over to his house to keep me company and cheer me up. I reluctantly agreed – by this point I had pretty much declared myself a shut-in.
It turns out K. had been meditating on my not being able to drink alcohol (I could only use a straw, which would lead to rapid intoxication and some concomitant expectorations which wouldn’t be prudent with jaws wired shut) or to properly form my lips around a joint or a bong to ingest the demon weed. He declared that he had found a solution to my problem of not being able to get inebriated to take the edge off of my current predicament.
He had a solution: He had converted a little French’s mustard bottle into a contraption which would take the smoke from a joint and blow it straight into my mouth by squeezing it. This, in turn got me incredibly high. And K. and I sat there in my silence and listened to music stoned. I had achieved escape.
I ended up making my way back home later that night and went to bed. I was woken up by my mother, who was about to have a go at me for coming home so late; she asked me how I was feeling, and I was able to make a sound. I was able to speak with jaws wired shut, just as it should have been from the beginning. Instead of laying into me, she was amazed and overjoyed that the gift of speech had been restored.
It was an amazing feeling. It appears that cannabis did the trick for bringing my voice back.
But I’m not writing this post about cannabis…It is about prayer.
Y’see, I had another friend, R.
I had a massive crush on her, but I had been friendzoned and still hung out with her regardless. Her parents, divorced, but living in the same apartment complex as each other, both liked me, and I would frequently run into them and chat with them whilst I was out and about.
They were poor and they were a bit on the redneck side: R.’s father and brother wore trucker caps without a hint of hipster irony about them. And they attended the sorts of churches people here in Blighty only ever see on something like Louis Theroux or Borat. Not my cup of tea for worship services, either.
I called R. to tell her my good fortune at having my voice back. R. was taken massively aback. She told me, unironically and with genuine surprise, that it was a miracle from God. She was clearly blown away for some reason.
It turns out that both her parents attended two different churches each and had decided to work together to get the congregations at all four churches to pray for the return of my voice on that Sunday.
It may have been the cannabis that loosened up that vocal cord. But I think the prayer might have had a lot more to do with it: the Lord moves in mysterious ways and chooses very strange vessels to do His will*.
*K. is currently doing time for burglary. I learned this from another old friend who just got out of prison for bank robbery. R.’s older brother OD’d on heroin a while back, too. I am truly blessed with the way my life has turned out, given the company I kept.