Today is my parents’ 51st wedding anniversary. In their honor, I’d like to tell you about a curious experience we shared in Wales when I was twenty-eight. Six months before, I developed pleural bruising of the chest wall, which turned breathing into an exercise in torture. Even after I recovered, I wasn’t up to par. Trifling colds became bronchitis overnight.
During the flight overseas, I caught another cold. Two days later, my voice dropped nearly an octave, and my chest burned with the slightest cough. Not to be outdone, my dad hurt his right knee just before the trip, and after two days of climbing castle stairs, it wasn’t happy. Clearly, our vacation had begun on a poor note.
The night we settled into our Pembrokeshire bed-and-breakfast, he and I fell into deep sleeps. My mom, however, did not. She fretted about my health and feared my lungs would never recover from the effects of pleural bruising. All night, she lay awake praying for my healing, and ultimately, my life.
Unaware of her long vigil, I woke the following morning to an image—a mere flash—of her as a nun in another life, kneeling on a cold stone floor with hands folded in prayer. Perplexed, I brushed the vision aside and hacked my way to the bathroom.
Even as we set out for St. David’s Cathedral, Dad and I remained ignorant of Mom’s fervent prayers. But I was quite aware we approached a sacred site of pilgrimage and miraculous healings—in pagan times and in Christian—and a purported intersection of ley lines.
Once inside the cathedral, Dad went off to explore on his own. Mom and I remained in the nave, but I veered a few yards away from her and gazed up at what seemed a massive time machine to the High Middle Ages. The Transitional Norman architecture was a masterwork of carving with its great, rounded arches and intricate, wooden ceiling.
All at once, heat poured through me. My flesh tingled. The next instant, I felt as if something pulled me downward and rooted me to the spot where I stood. I remained upright, but the bizarre suction held me fast.
Mom hastened toward me. “Jude, are you all right? You look faint.”
Suddenly, I could move again. I found the nearest pew and dropped onto it. Little by little, normality returned, but I couldn’t shake the feeling something powerful had occurred.
When we met up with my dad, he mentioned an odd sensation of heat in his right knee. By that evening, both of us felt remarkably better. The next morning, I was completely well, and my lungs have functioned beautifully ever since.
At one time or another, all of us need healing. Often, it goes deeper than the physical. My characters in The Novels of Ravenwood need it too, whether they’re a tortured warrior (Lord Ravenwood), a haunted magician (Lord Nihtscua), or the would-be nun with a secret, Lady Constance, in the upcoming Book 3, Shadow of the Swan.
If I could have one superpower, it would be the ability to heal anyone, anywhere of whatever ails him/her. I hope in some small way my books do that. I can’t lessen readers’ pain, but maybe I can lighten their load, show them they’re not alone, and give them an alternate reality into which they can escape…if only for a while.