The Healer Spurned
| "It's Sariah!" Scott said a little too loudly as he made his way into the room with Bethany and Kennan in tow.
"I remember you! You helped Autumn with that scary thing. Why did she shake all over? Autumn and Sierra became friends even though Sierra had seizures and Autumn has the big, scary cancer..."
"Scott, can you tell me who your friend is?" Sariah Golden interrupted. She was the charge nurse at the hospital where Autumn was being treated, and she also worked with Sierra during her hospital stay. Yes, the cancer was "big and scary," as Scott had said. She couldn't think about that now, as she had a Sunday school class to teach. Still, Scott had made her think... How was Autumn doing on this morning? Surely, she was still struggling with the nightmare, as if dealing with cancer wasn't enough... Sariah certainly couldn't discuss Autumn's condition with Scott. Although Sierra was in his class, Sariah couldn't talk about what had happened to her, either.
"Oh yeah, it's Kennan. He's going to live with me and...Emily...yay!" Scott shouted excitedly as he saw his social worker pass the classroom. She looked in and smiled at Sariah as if to say, "Children..."
"And Kennan," Scott continued without missing a beat, "this is Sariah. She's the bestest nurse ever! She gives us stickers after they give us owies with those big needles!" Scott enthusiastically continued to introduce Kennan to the students in the class, but he didn't notice the expression on Kennan's face. Scott had turned to talk to Lana and Ross, two other people in wheelchairs. He was startled when Kennan seemed to erupt behind him.
"I don't want to be here! I...I hate this place! I don't like those people...and I don't want to hear about the meanie, Jesus! He's not nice, Scott. You're stupid...since you like Jesus!" Bethany gasped as she sat in her walker seat, and Scott sat with his mouth open. Lana's eyes filled with tears, and Ross made a funny face at her in a desperate attempt to make her laugh...or at least smile. Lee, Lana's twin brother, stared at Kennan in silent shock. Emily reappeared in the doorway. The Sunday school class she taught was situated right next to Sariah's classroom, so she could surely hear the commotion. Zack's wheelchair filled the doorway behind emily. He peered around her and stared at the new boy curiously. Amy Rose, who was Emily's aide, quickly took charge and ordered Zack to return to the classroom. She quietly suggested that Emily take Kennan to a secluded place to talk. By this time, everyone in the education wing was aware of what was going on. Amy directed her students to return to Emily's classroom, and she firmly shut the door behind her. emily quickly entered Sariah's classroom and touched Kennan's shoulder.
"We're going to--" she began softly, but she was interrupted.
"No! I...hate...all--" Kennan screamed before disintegrating into uncontrolable sobs.
"It's all right...Breathe...we're going to a quiet place...you are safe, and no one is going to hurt you..." Emily continued to talk softly as she pushed Kennan down the hall. Kennan must have heard the footsteps as Brendan rushed past, for he was about to strike the older boy. Emily blocked his blows and saw the startled look on Brendan's face and the fear in his eyes.
"Go into class, and Miss Amy will help you with your memory verses," she told Brendan, who quickly complied.
As she continued to push Kennan toward an exit, she thought about the support system he would need, and his families, Brandon, Amy and Scott Rose; Bethany, Corrine and Jamison Ross; his friends and teachers would all need immense support.
Emily took Kennan outside, where she tried to focus his attention elsewhere. If they couldn't talk about God, which was a very small part of their task, they would have to show him through the simplicity and splendor of God's creation.
"Feel the sunshine? It sure is warm." Emily turned his face slightly so he could feel that wondrous creation without hurting his eyes. "And a flower," she paused as she guided his hand to it. Emily elicited a tiny smile when she touched the petals to the tip of Kennan's nose. "That tickles? Let's try this; it feels funny, too!" She pushed Kennan toward the grass and removed his shoe.
Emily was so engrossed in what she was doing that she didn't hear Corrine Ross approach. Corrine stood, silently watching. This was a new way to connect with a child. She wondered if they could switch Kennan's case to Emily. Corrine smiled as she watched Kennan's reaction to Emily. The intake worker had removed his shoe and gently touched his foot to the grass. At first, he appeared surprised, and then afraid. However, he must have understood on some deeper level that Emily wouldn't hurt him, for he allowed her to position both feet on the grass. His smile did not flicker this time; it remained in place for a little longer.
"Listen to the birds," Emily said in just above a whisper.
"That's a mockingbird. Isn't that a pretty sound?" Emily replace Kennan's shoe and pushed him toward a fountain positioned at the front of the church. As Corrine watched the interaction, she wondered if Kennan had ever experienced nature in this way. What had his life with his parents been like?
"Do you hear the water?" Emily asked, as she reached in and removed a polished stone. He was clearly startled when she placed it in his hand. Then Kennan hesitantly touched it with his finger. The water in the fountain was not cold, as it was warmed by the sun. Thus, Kennan did not retreat when Emily put his hand under the rushing stream. Corrine saw a playful aspect of Kennan's personality when he splashed Emily and laughed.
"You splashed me!" Emily said laughing, and the joy was evident in her voice. Maybe the people who loved Kennan were finally beginning to reach him. Corrine returned to her classroom with a lighter step. Hope sprang anew and flooded her heart; this was just the beginning, but maybe it would lead to a road to life, to the real Healer of Kennan's soul.
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