Holy Rollers. Until I lived on Ainsley Road I thought Holy Rollers only lived on some off the dirt road enclave. Not so. Sally lived six houses down and she identified as a proud Ohioan and a Holy Roller.
"I believe," she said when her son took a tumble off his bike and sported a gash three inches long, " that prayer heals." Anyone else on the street might try ointment and a gauze pad first and then the emergency room, but not Sally.
" I'm not one of those who won't go to the Doctor if I see my prayer stays static, but I'd wonder what offense I'd committed that my prayer didn't go anywhere but in front of my mouth."
John's gash healed. Maybe it only looked deep and water, soap, and a clean covering worked wonders.
"Ever speak in tongues? " she asked. I said that I never even heard anyone speak in tongues. That was enough to launch Sally. " It's a sacred language," she said.
" Close your eyes like you're in church and listen."
After three or four minutes Sally began, at first quiet like and then she picked up steam. Her voice trembled, then righted itself, and the sounds flowed out until they formed an unfamiliar language. I just let myself listen.
When she came around to her usual self she said, " I feel all tingly and washed with God's love. She spread that love like the widow of Zarephath.
One day Sally showed up at my house with a small pamphlet, the size of one of the tracts she left everywhere she went. "This", she said," is an instruction booklet on how to speak in tongues."
"It's not my thing," I said.
" Give it a try. You don't need to go public.Just you and God."
Sally placed a peach cobbler tart alongside the booklet and left empty handed.
When only crumbs remained, I picked up the booklet.
Ask God for the gift and then sit on a comfortable chair and begin to chant nonsense syllables. Keep at it until your words become a strange language that you and God share.
Because I was curious I sat on my rocker and asked God for understanding of ways that seemed strange to me and began to utter a series of nonsense sounds. They never formed into words, but I didn't expect any words.
Sally assured me that I just needed to stick with it and we prayed together-- not for speaking in tongues, but for a neighbor. Sally did end up speaking in tongues and I just allowed her words to surround us even though I couldn't translate them I knew they were filled with the Spirit.
I never tried again. Wasn't my thing, but whenever I heard Sally pray I felt her holiness just spread out like a shawl.