She touched the fringe of his cloak. For she said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak I will be made well.”
– Matthew 9:21
I have a friend named Jan who has a hard time praying. She says that she doesn’t like to put herself forward with God, because surely God has better things to do than listen to her prattle on about her problems. She seems so secure and self-sufficient, but in a little corner of my heart I wonder. Does she believe herself to be of no account, as though God does not crave her attention and conversation, as though God does not yearn to speak to her?
I had a dream once in which God leaned close, smelling my hair, much as I used to bury my nose in the hair of my children when they sat on my lap, to catch and treasure that unique scent that was such a part of them. It was startling and unsettling, this being seen when I thought I was invisible.
Jan is not so easily convinced. She calls it maudlin poppycock. Get on with your life, she tells me. Do something useful.
The hemorrhaging woman, who would have been treated as something vile by her community, especially her spiritual community, who would have been warned that touching anyone, even by accident, would make them unclean – this loathed and shunned woman dares a secret prayer. She reaches out for Jesus’ cloak. She must have been terrified.
This is my life, I tell Jan – this reaching out with the hand that has been rejected, this risk. I dare an open moment, an expectant silence. I dare to believe that I matter, that God has many things that God would say to me. I dare to believe that God yearns to say them.
I dare to have faith, the faith that I will – always – be healed.