He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”
He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. [Mark 8:23-25 (TNIV)]
Last summer, my friend Nick and I were sitting having a lunchtime coffee in a pub beer garden. We were chatting away when in drove a Ferrari. At least that’s what I thought when I first saw the car, on second glance I noticed it was a modified standard salon, “Boy racer,” I thought. The driver over revved the car as he made several attempts to park the car, and everyone present glanced over at the spectacle. After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing the car finally made it in to the space but over revved a little and… “Crack!” The front spoiler hit the curb. I had a little chuckle to myself.
After a little wait, in which I imagined the nameless driver cursing inside the car, out stepped a silver haired ‘BeeGee’ of a man. In his aviator shades he swagger around to inspect the damage, the headed to the bar to by a pint. Conversation’s resumed again. Two minutes later the driver wandered out side and proceeded to the bench next to Nick and I. Then he turned around and asked, “Can I join you?”
“Of course.” I replied, whilst inwardly frustrated that this random stranger would be hampering out discussion.
We talked about his car: the time and energy spent on it, his wife’s opinion, his ex-wife’s opinion, followed by other stories of woe and gloom, his face down cast throughout. We exchanged names; his was Vaughn (name adjusted for this telling of the story). While conversation continued, I wondered “What are you doing here God? Why has this Vaughn come to talk to us? This is so random!” We talked about his lack of work and his previous employment as a steeplejack, when we enquired why he’d stop, he geld up his right arm, “Because of this,” he said. The two smaller fingers were paralyzed against the palm of his hand, leaving the index and fore-finger looking claw like. “We’ve been praying for people to be healed at our church,” I said, “We could pray for you if you like.”
“Oh, religious are you,” he replied and proceeded to tell us of a recent run-in with another ‘religious pair’. Conversation continued and time ticked on and it was time for us to leave.
“Vaugh, we’ve got to go,” said Nick, he reached out to shake his hand, “It’s been great talking to you. Do you mind if I say a quick prayer before we go.”
Nick prayed and we got in our car to leave. Vaughn was waving to us as we left the car park. He walked in miserable and grumbling, but now he smiled an extraordinarily large smile — for the first time in our entire time of meeting him. It was beautiful. Perhaps he was glad to see the back of us, but I think a deeper transformation happened.
So, a miracle took place that day. When that car drove into the car park that day, I saw a cliché, a blur, a stereotype, a man ‘like a tree walking around’. When we left I saw Vaughn, fully human, a man with a name, relationships, passions, and tragedies. I was blind but now I see.