Mark 5 v 21-43
“Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace”
I spend my days here, by this little window. At least here, I can hear things. People. Snippets of conversations. Listening is a sort of comfort, I suppose, yet it also deepens the ache. For so many years, I have been little more than a ghost, hidden away here, behind this curtain. I’m not meant to go out. By now, I doubt I could go out even if I wanted to. My legs are weak and I’m always out of breath. It takes me a long time to find the energy even for small things, like chasing this annoying fly away from my face. Housework… Well, some days are better than others. For the most part, I am just dizzy. It’s as if my life can’t decide whether it is coming or going. Sometimes, I don’t know why life keeps hanging on in there – there’s not much hope left by now. The neighbours are kind, for sure, but I wish I wasn’t always the recipient of kindness… Still, I don’t know where I’d be without them.
I shouldn’t go out. It has to do with the ‘issue’. I wish it would just all go away. Believe me, I have tried everything I could think of and nothing has made any difference whatsoever to anything but my money bag. My wedding coins, gone. My beautiful shawl too. Even the chickens. I’ve still got one chair left, over there by the table, but I don’t sit there often. I am mostly here, in bed, by this tiny window, living life by ear through a small hole in a very solid wall.
I shouldn’t go out, of course. I am unclean. I’ve been stowed away here for so long now that most people have forgotten about me. It’d be wrong of me to leave the house. I could contaminate others with my impurity. That would be very selfish.
I should not be out here. The schoolboys… As they passed, coming back from their lessons, there was something new in their voices. A sense of expectancy that filled their incessant chatter with bubbles. I caught only fragments, but they were fragments of hope. So, although I shouldn’t be out here, I am.
I should avoid the crowd. It is quite overwhelming after all this time and I don’t know if I could ever get used to it again. Of course, we used to be quite close, hugging, fetching water, nattering away. But that was before. Yet, here I am, in the crowd, trying to get close. I know. I shouldn’t be here, but here I am.
I should not touch anyone. Least of all Him. He is so pure, like sunlight walking around, like that star which I sometimes see from the window when I can’t sleep – so bright. I must… Just a moment of contact. I must control my hand, but my hand is not listening. I can see it touching His cloak. It’s shivering with tension and hope. And I know. I know in that very moment that it’s stopped. The flow has stopped. It’s stopped!
His voice sounds like thunder as He looks around. I shouldn’t have gone out but I’m well! I shouldn’t have touched Him, but somehow I’m healed… He keeps asking who’s touched Him. I hear the entire ocean in His voice. I hear all the voices of wind and rain, all the melodies of all the stars. For a brief moment, I catch His eye, before falling at His feet in a heap of apologies and elation, hoping He will be able to make sense of me.
“Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
It is as He says. Peace simply is. I am surrounded by it, I live in it, and breathe it, and I am safe. I am whole. I am His. He let Himself be touched by my story. He healed more than my body with His attention, and I stood there for a long while, speechless, as He moved on with the crowd pressing around Him. I heard later where He was going, yet He made time for me! I stood there, holding one hand inside the other to keep the sense of the fabric against my fingers for another minute. Then I noticed that the change was on the inside too and that I did not have to hold on to it. Instead, it was holding on to me. It still is.