Calling down the devil
I’ve always been a fan of folkways and old sayings. Once, my wife said, “A watched pot never boils,” and my grandmother – ever a quick wit even into her late nineties – shot back with, “and an unwatched pot boils over!”
During a sunshower, Dominicans say “a witch is getting married.” In the American south, they say “the devil is beating his wife.” I thought of these phrases when I heard Adonis’ mother Alba say,
“God wasn’t answering my prayers, so I thought I should call down the devil.”
Alba was so desperate for healing for her son that she was ready to call on the devil if that was what it would take to heal him.
Take a second and let that soak in. I get to talk to a lot of patients and families as CURE’s multimedia producer, but I’ve never heard someone say something like that before. I’ve also interviewed and photographed a lot of African traditional healers (what we call “witch doctors”) in my career, but honestly, for all of the theatrics they use, many are closer to herbalists than someone who is calling forth dark powers.
(I have witnessed some inexplicable moments with them, but that’s another story for another time.)
As for Alba, she had watched Adonis, born with clubfoot, go through two surgeries and 15 casts at two different hospitals… and none of it had been successful. She had given up hope.
I first met Alba when Adonis was still in the midst of treatment. She seemed shell-shocked. If one of my kids had gone through that much disappointment, I would have felt the same way. Even still, her husband encouraged her to pray to God and have faith that Adonis could be healed.
Pray? Alba said she didn’t even know how to pray. It wasn’t until she found CURE that one of our spiritual staff told her most Christians close their eyes when they pray. Alba had never really prayed before, and the only prayer she could offer at the time was, “God, please heal my son!”
This time, unlike all the others, healing happened. Adonis’ feet started to grow straighter and straighter with each new cast and brace.
Adonis was not the only one who found healing at CURE. Alba did, too. She found spiritual healing through the prayers and love of the staff at CURE Dominican Republic. She didn’t have to resort to calling down the devil because she found Jesus.
Today, Alba is filled with joy. She used to cry when she saw Adonis struggle to walk. Now, she cries tears of joy when she sees him running. In fact, most days she can’t even catch him.
At CURE, we love to show how lives are changed through the physical and spiritual healing found at our hospitals. My job is to share those stories visually. I can show legs made straight, feet facing the right direction, and smiling faces filled with joy, but the one thing I can’t show in pictures or videos is the scars on the inside.
The camera can’t get to hidden pain. Desperation is shrouded in darkness, and I need light to make photographs.
CURE shines light into the darkened corners of desperation for kids like Adonis and moms like Alba. Coming into a relationship with a loving God after being ready to call down the devil is like shining a floodlight in a story that had been full of shadows.