An Unexpected Conversion
(A poetic reflection on Mark 5:21-43)
I hope I am not too late.
Night after night,
the anguished cries of my daughter
have become too much.
“Am I going to die, Papa?”
For twelve years I have doted on her,
told her someday her dowry would befit a queen.
She’s had the best doctors I could summon,
but she is slipping away from me.
I’ve heard of this man,
but I have no idea if what people say is even real.
Yet I am willing to bear whatever my peers might say for summoning him.
Foolish enough to see that charlatan, that huckster, that holy fool.
I suppose I’d be that desperate too, if it was my daughter–
but in broad daylight? At least Nicodemus sneaks around in the dark.”
Wait! Where did she come from?
I know her. Well, more like I know who she is.
A sad story. Unclean for over a decade.
But she should at least have the decency to stay out of public sight.
She did what? She touched him? How could she do this?
He’s unclean now.
Yet he’s not saying her uncleanliness has flowed into him.
Rather, he’s saying his power drained from him.
“Daughter, your faith has made you well.”
Is she a witch? Is it even possible to heal my daughter now?
It doesn’t matter anyway.
My servant says I am too late.
Wait–He still wants to come?
I’m not sure it will make a difference.
They will probably chide me even more now
and sit in their circles over wine and dinner
and debate the particulars
of whether I let an unclean man in my house,
but I no longer care.
I don’t know why I’m even bothering if she’s dead.
I suppose if I am to be greeted
by her lifeless body,
he does seem to be a kind man,
and perhaps a kind stranger to walk with,
is what I really need right now.
And now here I sit
with my perfectly healthy daughter next to me,
as she eats the first food she’s eaten in days, and I realize–
Here I was, all worried about whether she was unclean…
or he was unclean…
and I was the unclean one all along.
Can my faith make me well, too?
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 the Interim Pastor at Christ Episcopal Church, Rolla, MO.