Sunday’s readings included the story from the Gospel of Mark of the woman who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years. She fights her way through the crowd surrounding Jesus, believing that if she can just touch the hem of his clothes, she will be healed. This story is stuck in the middle of the story of Jairus, the temple official who’s daughter will be raised from the dead at the end of the story.
But I digress — I’ve head both of these stories multiple times and this time, the woman’s story jumped out at me in a different way. She manages to touch Jesus’ hem and she knows in her body that she is healed. She’s going to slip away and be happy. But, Jesus stops and recognizes that he has been touched. He demands to know who touched him. I can see his buddies rolling their eyes as they say “What? Of course somebody touched you. You’re in the middle of crowd with all sorts of folks touching you.” But he knows and she knows. And she realizes that she must come forward and acknowledge her healing.
I think what caught me short was that she knew she was healed, even before Jesus stopped, asked who touched him and then proclaimed to the crowd that her faith had healed her. She knew. She didn’t have to have Jesus tell the world that she was healed.
At the same time, she also realized that she had to own the fact that she was healed. She had to acknowledge that touching his hem did it. She had to acknowledge that she believed.
There have been times when I knew that something changed — that a hurt or problem had been healed — long before the public acknowledgement. Sometimes the healing is the easy part. Owning it is more difficult. Folks my laugh or think I’m a bit odd because I believe that somehow Jesus or God has healed me. But I must admit it, to myself and to others.
Share the word.
Maybe this should be titled “Gratitude” or perhaps “Reflections by a Skeptic.” However, I think “Gift” works as that is what I’m reflecting on.
There are some relationships that of late have seemed strained and distant. I believe I have some understanding of why this might be. The misinformation that gives rise to it is painful. The desire to jump up and shout “You’ve got it all wrong!” and proceed with a defensive stance is strong but probably not a useful response. So I sit with the situation, and I wrestle with understanding and forgiveness. And I am seldom of a mind to believe in the Divine Intervention.
On Sunday, in the midst of much disorganization and chaos, I pulled a dear friend aside and asked her to pray over me. She obliged, calling the Spirit to bring healing and wholeness to the immediate situation. I felt a bit of calm, a bit peace and a hope that I would be able to work through the babble and chaos with grace. That was good enough.
Good enough until I was face to face with a couple of people that had exuded a coolness in my direction of late. In every case, there was warmth and peace. An unspoken closing of distance surfaced. Over and over I noticed these flashes. And I marveled. It seems that the Holy Spirit decided that my expectations set the bar a bit too low. The Spirit was not in to simply meeting my expectations – Her vision went far beyond.
Thanks to my friend for her presence in prayer. Thanks to the Spirit who breathes out healing and peace. Thanks for the gift that was, and is, so much greater than expected.
I was over at Creo en Dios! a few days ago catching up (I’ve been away at a conference). I took the time to listen to Susan’s latest podcast, Myth’s We Live With. I’m so glad that Susan took the time to create this and post it. When she gave the retreat, I must admit to a bit of unhappiness that I wouldn’t be a participant. I wanted to hear the part about “I am not my personality.” And, now, I get the podcast. Yeah!
I am not my personality
Just what might that mean? I’ve chewed on it for months now. And, in listening to the podcast, I suddenly had an image that made sense. I’ve got to reframe the issue in what might seem a minor way, but it is so enormous in the understanding. If I feel fear, or anger or even compassion those emotions are not me – they tell me something about my current situation.Â It’s another one of those statements that has take me years to begin to comprehend.
The image that shines out is the idea that the personality (how I appear outwardly) as a sort of a cast – a temporary cast, I hope. That outward expression (personality) is in many ways a protection for those places where I am most vulnerable and most unsure. It seems that indeed, this cast is a transitional form. I’ve seen it change as I have walked this journey and come to know and trust myself more. My response to situations and people has changed.
Or so I thought — until I got a verbal “dope-slap” the other day. Yanked me right up, made me very uncomfortable, elicited a response of my own of “I don’t like you right now.” But wait — I survived, I am still here. I could look at what was said, accept it (or not), listen to how I felt, and go on. I haven’t obsessed over someone else viewing clearly the imperfect way I deal with life (in the past this sort of thing would have caused anxiety and sleepless nights).
Hmmm… maybe some of cast is ready to be removed.
A couple of weeks ago, I thought I probably overdid the weight on a certain exercise at the gym and it seemed for several days that I had strained an exterior oblique. Pain. It takes a pretty strong dose of over-the-counter stuff to make it quit hurting. Then there was itching, and the skin got really sensitive, and a puffy rash appeared. It dawned on me, “Maybe it’s not just a pulled muscle.” Turns out I was right – it was shingles.
Why am I thinking about this (other than the ever present discomfort for nearly 2 weeks)? I was feeling really whimpy about complaining about this pain in light of what some of my friends are enduring, when a friend observed – “just because someone else has more pain doesn’t really diminish your pain.” Ah – I’m back at pushing my own feelings aside because I don’t deem them to be of the same caliber as someone else’s feelings. Funny how just acknowledging that makes it easier to deal with. It makes it possible to try to do something to help correct my own issue, so I can be available to be present for someone else’s needs.
As for the shingles, I got to the doc (I needed some pain relief) before they really fully broke out. Got a diagnosis and an antiviral prescription. It took nearly a week for the pain to stop, but in my checking around, this seems to have been a very quick recovery. There’s a lesson there somewhere. It seems that I had to pay attention to my own pain and seek healing so that I could get back to a place of being able to help others cope with their pain.
I’m glad to be over that pain.