To whom this may concern,
Greetings, my name is Dr. Adison Brockton. I have been practicing medicine in the small but noble town of South Fraser for the past 25 years. In that time, I have become an old man. A status that has allowed me to see much of life, maybe too much life. As a good doctor, I know my patients and they know me, which makes it even more joyful to see the birth and that much harder to see death. I have chosen to write to you because something very new and strange has crossed my experience path. Something or I should I say someone that defies my understanding of the natural laws of creation. A saint has healed the entire town. There is no sickness here. There are no malcontents. There is a blanket of peace over all those who suffer. Take your time, read those last few lines again. I barely believe it myself but read the attached notes and know that a true cynic turned believer wrote them.
Sept. 7th – excerpt from journal entry
The Old busy body Miss Maple arrived at my office at her usual time of 9.30 a.m. How I dreaded these appointments like the plague itself. I wouldn’t wish this lady upon my worst enemies. It stood beyond reason for her to pay for my time each and every day simply to have a free ear to gossip into. As is my custom, I went through the motions of a checkup as I let out such platitudes as “O you don’t say.” “interesting” “really?” “go on.” Usually I would bet my bottom dollar that she could produce nothing but hot air and drama within the small town but today out of all days she managed to produce a sense of wonder in me. To the best of my memory, this is what the old lady spoke without taking a breath.
“Benny has been healed by some stranger. The same man healed Victoria and Franklin’s little girl. They say that any interaction with the man would make you assume, he had lived a charmed life, free of the mere most people face daily. While you talked, he listened. I mean he listened. It was if, he would slowly chew on each word, tasting your bitterness, your joy, your pain, your love. Never would he interrupt. He would just keep eating and eating until you had finished. Never did he lose his patience but instead just nodded in understanding. No matter how long you rambled on or how inane the topic of discussion. When he chose to speak, he would gently hold your heart and breathe new life into it with a few choice words.”
I remember thinking, “Impossible! Benny, Victoria, little Robert, these children are beyond help. I have tried everything to help each one and nothing works. Benny with his fits that don’t match anything in the books. Victoria always cold without any flu. Little Robert unable to speak but with no signs of a physical problem.”
She continued with greater bravado realizing that she finally had a willing audience, “When asked the children remember his love and very little else about him. Even Victoria, a gifted artist failed to recollect much about the man other than that his eyes were pale blue. It sounds like the stories of the saints of old doesn’t it? What do you think doctor? Doctor? Hello? ”
I was in a dream like state but the old Lady’s insistence for an answer brought forth a deep truth from within me “I would like to meet this man.”
Sept.22nd – excerpt from journal entry
I no longer have much to do during my working hours, it has been a week since anyone from the town has paid me a visit. The boredom has been palpable, it has made time itself come to a complete crawl. I spend the majority of my day letting the gears of mind spin aimlessly. That wandering always brings me to a singular idea, finding this saint that has practically put me out of business. I have no idea why I care but I do. I do care. I am enchanted by these events. How does one acquire an audience with the miracle worker? Where did he spend his time? What sort of man was he? The only way I could answer these questions was to follow the trail. Soon I grabbed my jacket, placed a note in the window: closed until further notice and with the turn of the key didn’t look back. My feet hit the pavement like a kid heading to the candy store. This old man was going to play the detective and even the idea of it brought a great Joy long forgotten.
Oct.1st – excerpt from journal entry
I have interviewed 12 people who have claimed to have been healed by this saint. With each I took down their testimony and cross referenced them with their medical files. Then I even examine each thoroughly at my office. There is no denying it, everything had checked out. They all had recovered from various chronic conditions without my help. The strangest element of all was Old Miss Maple being accurate in her original summation. She is almost never right. Regardless, each person struggled to remember the physical attributes of this healer. It was maddening to say the least. All I have been able to obtain, is that the man loved like no other and that he had healed half the town in or around a month.
Nov. 4th – excerpt from journal entry
My obsession has grown out of hand, this saint dominates my every waking thought. I no longer go to work; I just hunt for this mystical creature day in and day out. I caught a view of myself in the mirror yesterday and I almost didn’t recognize myself. My eyes were wild but somehow more alive than they have been in years. My hair disheveled and my beard unkept. From the looks of it I hadn’t changed my clothes for some time. It didn’t matter, I was on a manhunt and there was no time for such vanities. I would find this Holy man, I just had to bring together all my findings and then let the trail of healings bring me into his presence.
Nov.21st – excerpt from journal entry
I write this hurriedly because today I have broken the case wide open. Around noon, I stopped over at a country public house to enjoy a long stout of draft when a young man named Rob came bursting in raving about a man that had healed his invasive rash. I went to him right away and almost accosted the poor youth with questions. I blurted out with maniac excitement, “What did he look like?” “Where is he?” “When did this happen?” and to my surprise the youth pointed at my beer. I handed him my glass and he began to tell his tale.
“You see Sir, I was just walking along the road through the oak forest near the church, when I happen upon a stranger laying on his back with his eyes closed. I took the liberty to ask if he was alright even though he was likely sleeping. The man didn’t initially respond. So, I summed up all my courage and lightly touched his shoulder, ‘Mister, you dead?’ I asked. He didn’t open his eyes he just lay there motionless and mumbled, “It appears not, unless this is heaven and you an angel?” ‘Nope, just the son of a tailor taking a walk in the woods.” I replied. With that he slowly raised himself to his feet with what looked like a great effort. Once fully upright, the man took off his hat and did a little bow like I was some sort of King. Then he introduced himself, “Jacob Maccabee, at your service.” It made me laugh and well it seems that was his goal.”
I couldn’t stand it any longer, I interrupted the well-crafted story with a half plea, half command. “Please son, what did he look like?”
“Ah yes, he was tallish and slender. He wore what looked like an old beaten up tweed suit and on top his head was a brimless hat. He was unkept Doctor much like yourself, but I think most maidens wouldn’t have been uninterested. I believe he was in his thirties. Really the only two things I remember with great clarity are his name and his eyes. My mother taught me to remember those who have done me service, so one day I could return the favour. I have been repeating Jacob Mac over and over, but the name seems to want to escape me.” As the boy pondered his mind’s amnesia his description came to a stop. He began to stare into the pint for answers.
I didn’t have time for his meandering, I had an appointment with destiny, “What of color of his eyes?”
The young man seemed annoyed at my interjection but took pity on me “His eyes are pale blue like looking out on the ocean on a foggy day. The color is nothing spectacular, I would even say they are on the dull side and completely uninteresting.” Then the young man’s voice became almost frustrated, “With all due respect sir, who cares about their color! It is what they can do that is worthy of study. When he looked into my eyes, I felt as if we had been friends for years. Within seconds, he had penetrated my defenses. I couldn’t hide and I didn’t want to hide. I would have told him anything and I believe I did.” Then the young man took a great pause this time on purpose. My eyes met his, as he guided me towards his empty glass. I shouted “Barkeep, another for my friend.”
Strangely enough, the rest of his story turned out to be quite pedestrian. This Sean Mac hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary. No great prayer or laying of hands or incantation. He had just asked questions and listened as the young man told him about his life. Yet this Rob the tailor’s son, was completely convinced that his healing came just moments after the saint left his presence.
As a man of science, it is difficult for me to give much precedence to such claims, but it is impossible to refute the insurmountable evidence of these healings. I have become even more convinced that I must find this man and talk with him.
December 21st – excerpt from journal entry
My pursuit of Sean Mac has proven more costly then I would have initially imagined. After chasing this phantom across the country, it took all I had left just to return to South Fraser. I have been forced back into doctoring as of late. Patients are hard to come by and I have resorted to including household pets and farm animals into my practice. As the weeks have rolled by my crazed obsession over the saint seems only a memory as I embrace my normal routines. I feel a certain satisfaction that I did everything in my power to not only chronicle these healings but to understand them. I pursued the truth with a whole heart and am proud of my efforts. No matter how futile they have proven to be.
December 31st – excerpt from journal entry
A most unexpectant day. There I was leaning back on my chair with my feet on my desk, looking out my window at the townsfolk preparing to celebrate the New Year. There is always such a sense of possibility and expectation on such days, it was something that wasn’t lost on me. I could just feel that something was going to happen, what exactly I couldn’t tell you but something. As my mind drifted on the ocean of my thoughts, it found safe harbour in a small memory. There was Old Miss Maple the bane of so many ears, chatting away about a saint that was healing the town. My heart just as it had that fateful day began to stir, it began to catch fire. I thought of all the people I had interviewed, the adventure, the thrill of the chase and suddenly I couldn’t sit still I had to do something. I grabbed my coat, opened the front door of the office and to my surprise Rob the tailor’s son slammed right into me.
Rob looked like a lost puppy, as he pulled himself up from the ground using my pant leg. Rob’s desperation practically oozed of his person as he panted out these words “He needs you, Doc. He needs us.” I must have looked puzzled because Rob quickly and I must say effectively clarified, “The Saint.” No words were needed, the full armies of hell could not stop me from getting to this man. For better or worse this would be the day I would come face to face with the great healer.
We ran, never have my old bones been so light. I felt as if the spirit of God himself was carrying me onward. Drawing me closer and closer to what I most desired. I can’t say how long we ran but we came upon the fabled Sean Mac sitting atop the old bridge outside South Fraser. He was one of the saddest sights I have ever witnessed, it was like the weight of the world was on his shoulders but unlike atlas he couldn’t bear his burden. His head hung down off his defeated shoulders, tears flowed painfully down his face, his clothes were caked with dirt, in short, he looked dead to this world. I thought to myself this is the great saint that saved so many? Almost as if he heard my thought, he answered me with his eyes and suddenly I understood. As a scholar and scientist, I had failed to comprehend. I had assumed that this man was beyond the natural, beyond pain. As a man, I was looking into a mirror. I could see him as if he was myself…. he was a healer that need to be healed.
I sat beside him, reached into my pocket and offered him a candy which I retained for my younger patients. To my surprise, he laughed a little and accepted the gesture by promptly popping it in his mouth. He then asked me in complete seriousness, “May I ask something of you Doctor?”
I responded as gracefully as I could, “By all means. I am at your service.”
“Can you listen?” he asked, “Can you refrain from trying to save me?”
“I believe so.” I said with less confidence then I would have liked.
“Good. Then I will tell you my story. After which you may talk to your heart’s desire. Do we have an accord?”
It took some time for Jacob to speak. He had to first climb out of the emotional pit he had been sitting in, then he had to trim down the facts and then he had to decide how to communicate all that to a stranger. When one factors in all this, it was a miracle Jacob Mac even got started but he did and it started like this, “Doctor, I am not a long winded man and so I will save you anything that bears no relevance to my condition at present. A few months ago, I decided that I would love everyone who crossed my path the way my Father has loved me. You are a man of science. You may not understand my motivation but see it as an experiment if you must. The question “Can love heal?” and I would find my answer in the doing. So, I loved others with a whole heart. I found a great joy in this because it made me feel needed in the world, it gave me a sense of purpose as I glorified my Father. What I didn’t anticipate was that with each love sacrifice, my own wellbeing grew more and more precarious. The first thing to go was my physical health. Then my mind. Then even my faith began to falter. I began to feel like a vessel of water slowly being poured out, I was going to run dry eventually. Today, is that day I have ran out of love. I have come to end of what I can give. So here I am a labourer who has seen no wages, and as far as I can tell my love hasn’t moved a single mountain and my God has turned his face away from me. That is why you find me this day heartbroken and ashamed.”
I was absolutely without words, did this man truly have no idea how many lives he had impacted for the better? Did he have no idea of the miracles he had achieved? Was this why God himself put me on this wild goose chase, for this very moment? I gently and softly asked the man, “May I speak, Jacob?” He looked surprised to hear his name, he hadn’t mentioned it to me and very few ever remembered it. I took his silence as an affirmation. “For the last few months I have been attempting to speak with you, I have followed you across the country and I have seen the fruit of your labour. I acted as a witness if you would like or the collector of data for your experiment.” I withdrew my notepad from my chest pocket. Jacob watched intently, as I slowly flipped through pages and pages of names, dates, place, testimonies, interviews, my own impressions.
Jacob moved closer to me, “Who are all these people? What do they have to do with me?”
A great smile crossed my face as I pronounced, “With great joy my dear Christian, I present you with the case for love! Each one of these people listed had a chronic malady before meeting you and now don’t. So, in my professional opinion, either your love or your Father’s (if there is a difference) has done what I myself have failed to do on multiple occasions. Cure, the incurable.”
Jacob grabbed me with such love that if we were a candle, I was the wax and he the flame. He thanked God for my existence and when he finally let me go, I too knew what it was like to encounter a true saint. It felt like going home.