Friday, August 22, 2008

Corncob Ear Man

Dreams are just weird.

I don't know why, but my whole life I've had outrageous, detail-rich dreams. Its been many years now since the last one, but I used to have a reocurring dream as well. Same street, same wrought iron fence around the property, same horrifying house, same hill, same city, same people, same overwhelming sense of fear - every single time. I'm not one of those people that can control her dreams, or even knows somehow in her dream, that it is a dream. I've heard people talk about being able to control them or change them, or tell themselves "it's just a dream" while having the dream, but I am not one of those people.

Some of the dreams are so funny I've woken myself up by hearing myself laughing. Others are so disturbing I've woken myself up by the sound of my own sobbing, and yet others are so incredibly cool it's been like watching a movie, as I sleep.

Oddly enough, exactly three years ago today I posted a dream just like that. when I sat down here to write about the dream I had today, I thought about Corncob Ear Man, so I decided to pull it up from the Reflections archives. I had no idea I posted that on August 22, 2005, but there was the date. So, instead of what I was going to write, I've decided to repost that for your enjoyment.
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In the early 1800's, a very old doctor was hard at work in his smalltown office/lab. He busied himself with his life's passion at every free moment he had. This doctor was nearing the end of his very long life (he was almost 100 years old), and the prospect of dying before finally acheiving his life's goal only served to motivate him more, each day.

His life's work? To create a super-human race. Men and women with superior intellect, intuition, discernment and compassion. Physical characteristics weren't a big concern of his, but the mental and intellectual powers were his focus. He'd read the Bible stories, and heard countless sermons on the depravity of man, and believed if he could simply isolate the cells in the human body that were fallen from creation, and then remove them, the result would be pristine-state people, similar to Adam, before the fall.

After decades and decades of failed experiments with human cells, and babies born with deformities too gruesome to mention, the old doctor's last experiment turned out to be his crowning glory. In his eyes, anyway.

Through a complicated series of tests, and failures, experiments and alterations, he managed to isolate what he believed to be, and soon termed, The Depravity Core, in the human DNA. Of course he had no idea what DNA was, at the time. In many ways, he was very much ahead of his time - in other ways - shades of the old world of Babel Tower builders could have defined this man's motivation.

After completing a very guarded very secretive process of selecting a young couple to participate in this experiment, the old doctor took very ill. Nine months slowly passed and his life's work developed in the womb of the young country wife. To this day, the actual process of how he managed to get his isolated-cell experiment in the sanctity of the womb of this woman, is a mystery. To be frank, the child did bear a striking resemblance to both his mother, and his natural father.

The old doctor knew that this was his last experiment. His 100th birthday was quickly approaching, and his failing health, had finally gripped his body in ways he'd not dealt with before now. He was bedridden, and almost completely blinded by the time the baby was born.

The day arrived and the child came into this world. Rumor has it, the mother felt no pain at all. Rumor has it as well, the child never cried but made a cooing sound, and seemed to smile. The young couple brought the newborn baby to the doctor's office, to show him off. While the old doctor couldn't see any more, he was able to hold the baby and take great comfort in hearing the report that the baby was strong, and healthy. He was as pleased with his work as he could have been - even not knowing if the cell-isolation experiment had actually worked.

He would never live to find out. Only days later, in the late hours of the day on his 100th birthday, the old doctor fell asleep and never woke again.

The young couple raised up their boy (his name was never recorded in any public documents), and all through his childhood, they believed the old doctor's experiment worked better than they could have expected. The boy never cried, even when hurt. He reasoned things out, and was a quick thinker in ways to solve problems. He was tender and sensitive to others and all in all, was just a very good child. By the time the boy reached about 17 years old he was quite handsome, well known in his small town for his intellect and tenderness, and considered quite a catch.

He also quickly became known for something else. The closely guarded secret of his conception, was not a secret at all, in this town. It was never spoken of publicly, but almost everyone knew how this child came to be. Pride, and vanity and jealousy consumed the parents in this small town, and soon the idea to marry their daughters to this young man, and have grandchildren just like him, became an obession with countless families.

The obession of the parents infected the daughters, and quickly the obsession turned to abandon of all morality and logic and before long, numerous young girls were whisked away to closed quarters of their homes, as their bellies grew with the consequences of their actions. Vanity, lust and pride had overtaken them, and they now suffered greatly.

They had no idea how much more they would suffer before it was all over.

The young man turned 18, and almost to the minute of his birth, on his 18th birthday, his bones and joints began to ache, and throb. A simple annoyance at first, but as the hours turned to days, the pain became all encompassing, and it affected him from the joints in his feet, to the muscles and tendons in his face.

The old doctor’s experiment was working just as planned – even though it was not his plan. In his effort to isolate the Depravity Core, he removed a crucial cell that regulated physical growth. He was ignorant of this, and the results would now be seen, long after his death.

The young man began to change, and change very quickly. His bones were growing, his joints were expanding, and his entire stature was changing day by day. The growth hormone in his body was pumping at 100 times the speed of it’s normal capacity, and there was absolutely nothing anyone could do to stop it. His skin, oddly enough, didn’t stretch as quickly as it needed to, to accommodate his bones and muscles, and ripped, and tore, and left horrible wounds that had to be tended to hourly, to keep infection from setting in. Like the countless young girls all through the town who were now hidden away in shame by their parents, the young man was also kept in a back bedroom, tended only by his parents during his transformation. During the 9 months all of his children developed, he did too.

In a small town known for not keeping secrets very well, this time it was much different. No one in the town knew any of this was happening. Those parents that did not fall into the vanity-trap for their daughters, were kept completely out of the loop, about what happened to those girls. Stories vary, but some say there were as many as 50 young girls that year, that just suddenly vanished from this town. A story was invented about the girls – that their families sent them away together to a larger city, to work together in a new factory. It seemed believable, for a time.

Likewise, they didn’t know what happened to the young man. Some said he moved away to find work and put his roots down in another town. Others said he traveled across the ocean to visit far away lands. It didn’t seem to matter, no one took his sudden disappearance very seriously, and as the months rolled by people eventually stopped talking about him and the missing girls. Life in the small town went back to normal. For a time.

In the back bedroom of his parents home, the young man no longer resembled his former self. His father had to build a special bed, to hold up his weight, and accomodate his massive size. He was no longer the handsome young man, he had been just 9 months ago. He was no longer recognizable at all. His face was misshapen, as his jaw on the left protruded much farther than his jaw on the right. His eye sockets were sunken and his ears were as large as corn cobs. His arms and legs were both hideously misshapen as well. The joints in all, were larger than they should be, and bulged under the quilts his mother had sewn together to make a blanket large enough to cover him.

For the first time in his life, he cried. For the first time, he also complained, and got angry. He didn’t understand what was happening to him, and his heart ached to know, and to have someone fix it. His parents were silent. The thought of confessing to him what they had done horrified them, and so they never told him.

Near the end of the 9 months, his growth had begun to slow down. The pain was a little more tolerable each day, and he was able to sleep finally, without strong medication. The morning of the 9th month, he awoke without any pain at all. It was the first time he had smiled, in a very long time. His smile was hideous, baring gums with missing teeth, and too large for his lips to cover completely. In his heart however, he was grateful and happy, that his pain was gone.

That day was also the birthday of the first of his children, although he did not know it. What he also did not know was that the mother of the first of his children, had suffered right along with him, during those 9 months. She was not carrying a single child, but triplets, and all of them were growing at the same rate of speed their father was.

She longed for death, and even tried a few times to end her own life, during this time, but death would not come and would not be the release for her that she hoped. Like the father of her children, she also had to be heavily medicated through the pain to bring her some relief, and silence her screams of agony. No one really knows for sure, but most believe it was the combination of pain, and the sight of her children upon the day of their birth, that caused her madness. She never spoke again, after that day. She rarely even moved. She sat, and stared into space, as if looking for a way out. She never smiled, never cried. She had to be fed, dressed, and bathed by her own mother.

This was not only her life after the birth of her children, but mirrored identically the lives of all the other young girls, immediately following the day of the birth of their children as well. None of them had a single birth. All of them bore twins, or triplets, and several cases of quadruplets. Yet another error in the cell isolation experiment, that the old doctor couldn’t have known he made. All of the young man’s children, were multiple births. Some have said, as many as 200 children were born that year, in that small town. In dark rooms, under heavy secrecy and accompanied by shrill screams of horror mixed with pain.

Aside from being grotesquely deformed and hideous to behold, these were all normal babies. Mentally and emotionally, quite normal. They cried when hungry or wet, and their grandmothers bore the burden of taking care of them, as their mothers had all gone mad, and were now sitting silently in their rooms. The very same women who were once consumed with vanity, were now consumed with the burden of caring for what many would come to be known as the little monsters.

It wasn’t long before the secret was no longer a secret. Stories swirled around the town like a dark storm cloud, and eventually some townspeople were knocking on doors to search for the truth. Some families, in a false sense of relief, were even eager to let the people in to see the children. As the toddlers sat and played on the floor with each other, they appeared at first glance, to be perfectly normal. Until they stood, and smiled that grotesque smile, that horrified those unprepared to see it. The very fact that as toddlers they were almost as tall as full grown men, was just another reason to send more than a few visitors running from their homes.

It wasn’t long before the families in this town, with “normal” children, packed up and moved away. Every last one of them left. The only families that remained, were the grandparents taking care of their mad daughters and deformed grandchildren, and the parents of the once-strikingly handsome, intelligent young man.

It wasn’t too long after the other families fled, that the town received a flood of new visitors. Refugees from the town began to talk where they’d settled, and eventually the newspapers in those cities began to catch wind of this story. The curiousity seekers made their way to the town, to see “the monster children” and their “monster daddy”. Numerous candid pictures were taken, and appeared in larger city newspapers. Almost no one believed the pictures were real. Almost everyone wrote off the stories as some fantastical imagination of a young reporter. But it was good for newspaper sales, for a while.

One of the young reporters did invent quite a few details, and wrote a piece about the old doctor, claiming to have seen his experiment notes, where he called the future child of his work, “The Son of The Son” referring to Jesus, the Son of God. While the old doctor was indeed mad, in his own right, he never did call the child that, it was just an invention of the reporter, to stir even more controversy. It did work in a way and the young man who was the father to all these deformed children, became known for a while in the big city media as “The Monster Son”.

As the years passed, the media attention faded, and the children grew up together in this small town. Simply because they appeared “normal” to one another, and were perfectly normal and healthy in every other aspect, they all got along as well as any other children do. They played together, schooled together, and worked together. They knew no other life, and they were as happy and as content as children can be.

An odd thing happened though, as the first set of children, the triplets, approached their 18th birthday. They began to suffer increasing pain in their joints, and muscles. As the days wore on, it was the same identical set of symptoms their father had told them about, as he approached his own 18th birthday, so many years ago. They were stricken with fear, and sorrow, expecting the worst to come, as they understood by social standards they were already as ugly and deformed as possible. The idea of getting worse, plunged their hearts into great sadness.

But that isn’t what happened. Instead of growing larger, and more deformed, they actually began to shrink. Bones, tendons, joints, muscles, organs – everything about their physical makeup, began to shrink at the same rate of speed. The pain was unbearable, and like their father before them, they were reduced to being bound to their beds, heavily medicated by their parents, as they suffered through this transformation. Thankfully, it did not last 9 months like their father’s had. In less than a month’s time, it was over. Like their father before them, but in the very opposite extreme, they looked like any other young, 18 year old men. There was nothing whatsoever unusual looking about them, aside from their striking handsomeness.

Needless to say, they were shocked, relieved, and just a little nervous about what all this meant. Their own half-brothers and half-sisters had also begun to go through this as well, and as word got out among them, of what was to come, it was almost a welcome transformation even though dreaded for the pain it would cause.

Some were more than confused. The way they looked, was normal to them. They really didn’t see any reason to want to be any different, since they all shared the same deformities and stature. Suddenly now, some of their siblings were “normal” which to them, was the oddity. The real issue was however, they knew there was nothing they could do about it. The genes they carried that would bring about this change, were the genes of their father, altered long ago, by a mad man looking to dabble with a medical shortcut to remove sin, and depravity from the human being.

Since their birthdays were all just a few short months apart, they all went through this change, and the result was just a little different from one to another. Some were stunningly beautiful, while others were rather plain looking. Some were handsome, others not. All of them however, were transformed into what would be considered in that day, to be average height, and average appearance.

As the years went by, their mad mothers eventually passed away, along with their grandparents. Their own father lived a long, and painfully lonely life. They all took care of him, and sooner or later, many of them moved away, or married newcomers to the town, and started families of their own. All of their children were born healthy, and of average stature. The gene experiment ended with their generation.

With the passing of time they each learned of the truth of how this family history was altered by a man trying to make a name for himself, by dabbling in places only God had any business going.

For them, the words to this song, in particular this very verse, became more of a reality, than many take them to be. These people understood these words to their very core:

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

They knew that what the old doctor had called the Depravity Core was something that could never be altered by science, but could only be remedied by the Lord Jesus' finished work on the cross.

(The above is not a true story – it was a pain medication-induced dream I had last night. As dreams go, the details might be fuzzy in some places – but there it is, all the same. Originally posted 8/22/05.)

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