Monday, September 20, 2010
Re-telling an Old Story...
The spot was small and white and troubling; I had tried for many weeks to scrub it off.
"It's just the sun", I thought in a frantic moment, "The sun dried out that little patch and made it look so dead".
But the patches spread and lookers gasped and I found myself outside the camp. My family wept as they watched me from a distance--not daring to approach for the arms they craved around them. Alone I begged beside the path where once I proudly strode into my city, carrying cloaks and silken robes for wrapping wealthy shoulders. They threw me little scraps of bread, but their eyes now shone with fear--and a poor, pathetic pity tainted with disgust.
More than anything I missed a human touch...the little hand of my son grasped firmly, the gentle warmth of my wife against me ..my father's old hand on my shoulder...and the newborn daughter, a cuddle of softness in my arms.
I waited...and I wearied...and I wanted...until the day
Two men came racing in ahead of the crowd. From my hiding place I heard their tattered whispers. "a meddlesome man... coming into the city. .. better if he'd leave this region. Trouble brews ...and the priests are angered. He touches things that were better left alone. Breaks the Sabbath, so they say...
He touches..." and I strained to hear the rest...
From a distance in the graying, I saw them-- a little knot of men approaching--several ahead, and a weary one behind. They were hurrying to slip through the gate before night fall, but if I tried I might be able to intercept them.
I did not think. I only ran, with a burst of speed that drained me, feet stumbling over sharp and ragged rock, leaving tracks of desperate blood.
Then in the dust beside the road I crumpled, overcome with the enormity of my transgression in polluting the path. I heard my own heart throbbing...could not look up. I heard footsteps, tired...slowing....stopping. I dared. I saw the man. Not fleeing, and his face not torn by fear.
"If you are willing"....I began..."Sir, if you are willing, you can make me clean."
He smiled and touched me. I'm willing. Be clean.
He touched me! The untouchable! His clean enveloped like a radiant embrace and I stood there shaking in my joy. The spots were gone. My pale dead skin was radiantly alive.
"Go. Show yourself to the priests," he said. "Don't tell anyone who healed you."
The most marvelous word in any language--clean!
"Not tell anyone?"