What We Call It Does Not Matter


Ben H. Swett
Temple Hills, MD
May 1975

They told me that Mrs. Graham was paralyzed, but she wasn't--quite. Her body was twisted at the waist; one of her legs seemed shorter than the other; she had trouble moving them, and they were full of pain whether she moved them or not.

I don't know why, but Mrs. Graham and I liked each other at first sight. Her hospital room was full of people, so I stood while we talked and while we shared Communion. I felt the blessing of a spirit as I prayed--it flowed over me--and at the end of the prayer I saw that Mrs. Graham had felt it, too. She was aglow with it.

As we went on talking, she asked me to sit on the foot of her bed, and she lifted her feet to the other side of the bed. There was something about the way she did that, the way she hoisted and rotated her body as she lifted her feet, that seemed somehow right, or important, or significant.

We visited for awhile longer, and I left.

A few days later I heard she had been released from the hospital. Still later, our minister stopped me in the foyer after church and said, "Boy, the holy spirit sure must have been cutting up some capers when you visited Mrs. Graham. Her family swears her legs started tingling right after you left and she had the use of them within a couple of hours ... what do you think about that?"

I didn't tell him what I thought. I already knew he didn't believe in anything as far out as spiritual healing. He was only joking. So I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Who knows? Maybe it was a miracle." He didn't choose to play with that suggestion; he just frowned and turned away.

But what I wanted to say to him was: "Perhaps a holy spirit really did move her--to move her body in just the right way to produce what amounted to a chiropractic adjustment of her lower back. That could have relieved some pinched nerves, and thus restored both the feeling and the use of her legs."
So--no big deal. I don't care whether we call it a miracle or a chiropractic adjustment or a spontaneous recovery. All such explanations originate in the preconceptions of the people who use them, and all I care about is the fact that a lovely old lady can walk again.