Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Father's Healing Breath

No, you didn't read the title of this wrong. It is just as it says. I really don't know what else to call it. From the time I first started remembering anything about my life, I have memories of this. My dad had the God-given ability to make or repair almost anything...if it was broken, he could fix it. It seems his gifts went beyond this, yet I or no one in my family can explain it...only God knows how or why. Let me explain.

I can almost still hear the telephone ringing, sometimes late at night. They always seem to ring louder at night for some reason, don't they? The next thing I knew, my dad would be out of the house and in his car, driving down the road. Or someone might just stop by, anxiously asking for Joe (a.k.a my dad) and he would take them out into his shop or off to the side of the house, out of view, noticing that they were often wincing with pain. Sometimes it would be one of my brothers or sisters that urgently needed him in this way. Sometimes it was me. It was a strange thing that he was able to do by most folk's standards but that didn't keep them from calling on him when they needed him. To me, it was just something that my daddy did. Something that I probably thought every little girl's daddy did. You see, my dad had been handed down a "gift" from his dad and it may have been handed down from his dad as well...I'm really not sure who passed this on to him. This gift, for the lack of a better word, was the ability to blow the "fire" out of burns to the skin. Some of you are probably thinking, "uh.....OK...if you say so" right about now. I would find it hard to believe if I hadn't experienced it for myself...even I would probably think I was crazy! Well, I will tell you that just about anybody who knew the Billheimers could attest to it.

When I decided to write about this, I realized that there would be some people who might read it and think that I had lost all my marbles so I decided to do some research on the subject by Googling ... uh ... hmm ... what exactly do you call this strange phenomenon? I thought about it for a minute and typed in the search box just what it was - "blowing the fire out of burns". Not that I needed any proof that this was actually something my father was able do but I will admit that I was a bit curious to see if others had experienced it and what, if any information was out there regarding it. I have to say that I wasn't terribly surprised when I found what I was looking for on my first try...I didn't have to search any further. There are actually several websites with information on the subject and they all pretty much said the same thing. Here is an example from one website based right here in North Carolina:

Talking/Blowing Out Fire
        A 21-year-old student at East Carolina University gave this account of his father's special healing ability in 1992. "My father knows how to talk the fire out...I was a skeptic until the day I burned my hand. We were freezing corn one summer and I had the job of blanching the corn so I removed a bowl of corn from the microwave and when I attempted to remove the plastic wrap from the top of the bowl, the steam escaped and scalded my hand. I was in terrible pain and wanted very badly to believe that my dad could talk out the fire. My dad performed a rubbing motion over my hand while silently repeating a verse or chant. Dad told me that I must believe in order for the process to work. Within 15 minutes after he had tried talking the fire out, the sting was completely gone and left no blister at all. Needless to say, I'm a firm believer in this practice of talking the fire out."
       The tradition of talking out the fire, also known as blowing out the fire or drawing out the fire, is at least 1000 years old. It still exists in Europe and many parts of the United States.
       To heal a burn victim, fire talkers generally chant or repeat a certain verse from the Bible. At the same time, they make rubbing motions or gently blow on the burn. According to many of the burn victims, the pain disappears soon afterward and the burn heals without leaving scars in most cases.


As I read this, pictures from my past started revolving around in my brain. One of the first ones that came to mind was when one of my sisters...either Ruby or Lois... had been riding the motor bike that belonged to one of the boys. I can remember the incident pretty clearly except I'm not really sure which girl it was... anyway, the sister in question, got a little too close to the muffler and received a pretty nasty burn to the calf of her leg. Dad came to her rescue. Back in the day, my dad was a smoker (glad to report he was able to quit later on) and there was a time ...OK...two or three maybe...when I got too close to one of his cigarettes and was burned when the ashes dropped on me. Dad came to my rescue. I specifically remember the telephone ringing late at night after we had all gone to bed and someone on the other end of the line had experienced some sort of emergency and suffered a burn ...I don't remember the details...I just know that whoever it was knew who to call. Again, Dad to the rescue. There were many more occasions - probably many that I knew nothing about - but I'm pretty sure that just about everyone of my siblings needed his "services" at one time or another.

When I think about it, our home was actually a pretty easy place to get burned! Back when I was really little, our heat source was an old free-standing oil stove - you know, the kind with a big fat pipe that went up through the ceiling. That thing got HOT and we were always warned to stay clear of it when those flames were burning. Later on, after the natural gas line was available in our neighborhood, Dad installed a big floor furnace with a huge grate which was nearly as wide as the doorway between the kitchen and the living room. During the cooler months when the furnace was running, that got really hot too. It was quite important to be wearing shoes or slippers when you "crossed over" to the other side. This posed a problem for the next generation of Billheimers... also known as the grand kids. There were times when having a houseful of visiting toddlers running here and there ended in disaster and several of them over the years wore those perfect "grill marks" on various parts of their little bodies like medals of honor! Dear sweet niece, Kim (West)...if you are reading this, you are living proof. In fact, I recall an Olan Mills portrait in the Billheimer Family Archives of you, proudly displaying yours on the back of your little arm. Once again... GRANDPA TO THE RESCUE!

Now, I am not one of those people who puts any stock in psychic powers and all of that mumbo-jumbo but I do believe the the have to if you believe in God. Of course, no human being actually holds that kind of power in his or her hands...or in this case, heal. Healing comes from God, Himself, and I am a firm believer that He works through His people to help accomplish His work. I can't explain why my dad was able to blow the fire out of a burn or that he was only one among many it seems that have been given the ability to do so. What I do know is that God's ways are not our ways and that He is a mystery. I think He likes it that way to keep us humble... so we don't get so smart and think that we have everything all figured out...He is God after all. My dad wasn't some ultra-spiritual man who oozed Jesus. He was proud, sometimes loud, a little rough around the edges, and at times pretty ornery (I am my father's daughter :) He loved his family and loved and respected his Lord even more. He worshiped Him in his own private way... more ways than I will ever know, I'm sure. He was also kind and caring and was always helping folks out in one way or another. It never seemed to bother him when someone would call for his help - whether their lawn mower wouldn't start or they burned their hand on a hot pan - it didn't really matter. He was ready to serve his fellow man (or woman) however he was needed. That was my dad. That's who God made him to be.

To this day, I'm not sure if Dad ever passed this on to anyone else in the family. If he did, they have kept it a deep, dark secret. My sis, Barb thought it was supposed to be passed on to the oldest daughter. That would be you, dear sister Lois :)  Well....? I have a feeling he may have gone to meet his Creator without sharing the secret. We may never know.

I struggled somewhat with the title of this post..."My Father's Healing Breath". When I pondered and pondered how else to title it, I couldn't think of any other possibility. Maybe it's because I know who did the the blowing...or breathing...that was my earthly father. But I also know who actually did the healing. That was my Heavenly Father.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
fill me with life anew
that I may love what Thou dost love
and do what Thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
until my heart is pure,
until with Thee I will one will
to do and to endure.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Blend all my soul with Thine
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
so shall I never die,
but live with Thee the perfect life
of Thine eternity.

 Edwin Hatch, 1835 - 1889


  1. My mother shared this gift, and she passed it along to her last son, the 7th child.. I'm not sure he remembers the words! It was a verse from the Bible. He is 70 now, and never married, so has no one to pass it on to!

  2. Oh this is soooooo neat. I am a believer! God gives each of us special gifts, we just need to learn what they are and in His Glory and Praise use them wisely.

    Your dad was amazing! : - )

  3. Unexplainable, but real nonetheless! I really enjoyed your sharing of this experience. There is no doubt in my mind that the supernatural world around us is much more than we will ever understand. As with any gift, comes a large responsibility to use it for the glory of God. I'm glad I followed the link over here to read this story. Hugs to you dear friend!

  4. I have never heard of this, Debby, but how wonderful that your dear dad was given this gift from God. I'm so glad that I read this!