a poetic reflection on Luke 8:40-56
“I won’t lie to you,” Jairus said,
as he reached for another grape
and took another sip of his drink.
“I was angry. Really angry.
I was pouring my heart and soul out to Jesus.
I was begging–how does it look
for the leader of the synagogue to beg?
and he just kind of let the crowd
push him away from me…
…and that’s when that unclean woman touched him.
“I keep the commandments best as I can!
I don’t want to brag,
but I really DO try to be righteous.
and then that unclean woman touched him.
“That’s when I got really incensed.
and then people I know find me and tell me
that my daughter is dead.
It was all a blur.
“But then somehow,
His attention focused back to me
and we went to my house…
…honestly, if I hadn’t seen it myself,
I wouldn’t have believed it.
My family isn’t made of fools,
they clearly thought she was dead.
He raised her from the dead–
That’s the only explanation I have.
“Yet–I guess I’m trying to deal with
that deep anger–that deep resentment–
that I had at first.
I keep wondering what this is all about.
Oh, I know part of it
is that my children mean everything to me.
I still have a hard time
that it felt like he slighted me
and that unclean woman grabbed onto him
and without even asking,
got her life back
when I was begging to get MY life back
through the healing of my child.”
He got up, poured himself another cool drink,
pulled out a plate of cheese,
cut himself a slice,
and slowly began munching on it.
“You know when I finally started to let go of that anger?
It was when my wife got back from the mikveh
a couple of weeks ago.
She always has this aura…
when she comes back…
like a big weight has been lifted from her.
She tries so hard to be righteous too,
as the wife of the leader of the synagogue,
and yet she can’t help
what her body does to her every month.
“It made me think about that poor woman
with the hemorrhages.
For the entire length
of the life of my child,
She couldn’t experience
what my wife does every month,
and now she could.
I’ll never know what that feels like.
I’ll never have that burden
that devout grown women carry.
I’ll certainly never know
what that woman must have felt like
when she returned from the mikvah
after twelve long years.
Then, he shifted in his chair
and leaned forward towards me.
“I don’t think people really understand
this power that this Jesus fellow
seems to have,
and I don’t mean stuff like
healing the sick
or raising the dead.
He’s teaching us a new way to live
by seeing the world
through the eyes of those
that have less power
under the law.
“I’ve never thought about
what it’s like
to be a woman,
to live a woman’s life,
to suffer what women suffer with
all the time.
What do I know about being a woman?
I was only taught
to give prayers of thanks
that I wasn’t born one.
I don’t know what it’s like
to be a leper,
or a Samaritan,
or even a Roman centurion.
“But I can sure tell you
that I think about it now,
and I can’t totally explain it,
but it’s starting to change
the way I see the world.”
Maria Evans splits her week between being a pathologist and laboratory director in Kirksville, MO, and gratefully serving in the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri , as Interim Priest at Trinity Episcopal Church in Hannibal, MO.