Sunday, where I was scheduled to deliver the sermon. There were people behind me that I did not know. As I entered the church, one of the members called to me, “Charlie Brown, it’s about time you got here.” I was 15 minutes early, but they had expected me sooner.
A few minutes later, I was approached by a man who came up behind me. He asked if I was the same Charlie Brown that writes about angels. I told him I didn’t know if I was the only one, but I did write about angels.
“Did you write one about 50 years ago about your brother?” he asked.
I paused in amazement. “Yes, I did,” I replied. I had totally forgotten the story. It appeared in a magazine that I could no longer remember.
“I am Jimmy Ledbetter,” the man told me. “I was with you when you shot your brother with the arrow. We were playing cowboys and Indians.You accidentally shot your brother in the eye.”He paused in reflection.
As I walked up to the podium, I was taken back 50 years. It had been Easter Sunday when we were playing in the woods behind our home. I was 13. My two younger brothers and I were playing with Jimmy at our fortified cave about a mile behind our farm home. My brothers were soldiers defending the fort. Jimmy and I
were attacking Indians with homemade bows and spears fashioned from local willow trees.We would shoot our arrows and when we ran out, we called a truce to retrieve them. No one expected anyone to get hurt. My last arrow struck my younger brother in the eye. Bobby started screaming and everyone panicked.
Religion was a daily practice in our household. I would even say my family was one of the worst examples of holy rollers that I had ever seen. My father drank and often came home drunk. My mother would continually pray that he would not come home in a crazed frenzy.We attended church every Sunday.We missed that Sunday because I was just getting over chicken pox: a reprieve for one Sunday out of 52. I had always been impressed by the power of prayer. There was always someone who declared health problems or other maladies had been healed through prayer. I witnessed a crippled man throw down his crutches and walk, independent of any assistance.
“Gather around him” I shouted. “We have got to pray for him.”
At 13, I wasn’t too sure of how to pray. I was accustomed to church members jumping, shouting, and speaking in tongues. We placed our hands on Bobby and prayed the Lord’s Prayer. I picked him up with the assistance of my other brother, Floyd. We started running up the hill to the highway. Old Doctor Coffey lived about half a mile away.We headed for his house. Fortunately a neighbor stopped and drove us to his door. It was probably an
hour before we got there. Mom and Dad were taking food to a sick friend and we could not reach them.
All the way, Bobby kept screaming that he could not see. I prayed all the way to the doctor and while he was being examined. I could hear the doctor trying to appease him. Nothing the doctor could say would help. The doctor cleaned the blood and came out to see me.
“Where did the blood come from?” he asked.
“It came from his eye where I shot him with an arrow,” I replied.
The doctor scratched his head in total confusion. “There are signs of broken blood vessels in his eye, but no injury that would produce that amount of blood. Are you sure you hit him with an arrow?”
“Of course I did,” I said.“I saw him pull the arrow out.”
Finally Bobby settled down. The doctor kept telling him that there was no wound and that he was not blind.
We didn’t have any money and the doctor said,“Well, I didn’t have to sew him up, so I guess there is no charge.”
In those days, most of his house calls were paid for in kind. Few people had enough money for food. Doctor bills were unheard of. Unless we were bleeding to death, no one went to a doctor.
We began the trek back home. Bobby asked, “Who was the person who kept his hand on my eye while we were going to the doctor?”
I told him that no one held his eye. We were too busy simply getting him back to the main road.
“No,” he replied. “Someone was beside me all the way to the doctor with his hand over my eye.” He described a tall, glowing man dressed all in white.
“It must have been a healing angel,” I told him. I felt cold chills run down my spine. This was a miracle and I was part of it.
I had heard of healing angels all my life. I had witnessed many healings in church. We even had roving preachers who would go house to house administering to the sick. Many of the bedridden would get out of bed, totally cured without the aid of a physician. I suppose that was why I was consumed by the urge to become an administrator
This was 50 years ago to the day. The minister of the church, Margaret Ann Schmidt, had no idea that when she asked me to do the Easter Sunday sermon that it would be the culmination of a 50-year-old prayer.
As children, we think as children and act as children.When we are older, we put away childish things. Well maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t.—Charlie R. Brown