(A poetic reflection on Luke 5:12-26)
Daily Office Readings for Friday, April 23, 2021:
I have no idea what day it is.
To be honest, they are all the same,
uncountable hours left where someone puts me,
unless I crawl somewhere else by the arms and shoulders.
I recall moments,
foggy moments from a murky past,
when my legs did something
other than drag limp behind me,
but for the life of me, I can’t remember when that was.
Today, though, was different.
Why are you picking up my mat,
with me in it?
Where are we going?
What are you doing?
Take me back!
I know it is no life, but it is the life I now accept.
Really, I don’t want to hear about your healer.
Do you know how many times I hoped for a miracle?
Can you see the endless parade in my head
of faith healers, of doctors, of hucksters, of so-called miracle workers
who always left me as dysfunctional and helpless
as I am now?
What is happening to me?
I feel lighter than air,
as if I’m flying to the sun.
I feel my body rising.
Am I dying?
Now I am no longer rising but sinking.
I reach to the sky, feebly trying to embrace the light
But it does nothing to stop my descent,
One last cruel trick returning me to my worthless, useless body
as the light fades and darkness inches towards me.
“Look! His friends are lowering him through the roof,” someone says,
But I do not know what they are talking about.
I am tired, I have been jostled about, to be taken
to this place I do not know and did not ask to be taken,
and just when I thought this hellish thing called my life
would finally be over, I am earthbound again.
I do not know this man,
but I do believe I’ve heard of him.
In the hours of drudgery that comprise my life
as I lie on my mat and beg,
I think I recall people talking about this man.
He speaks, but I don’t think he’s speaking to me.
I hear the tinkling of priestly adornments,
I think he’s speaking to them, but honestly,
I just can’t tell.
No! Wait! “Arise and walk?”
Is he speaking to me?
Is he crazy?
Can he not see
My shriveled legs;
can he not smell my own filth
that reminds me constantly of my own immobility?
Maybe I really am dying,
and this is just a dream–
And if this is just a dream
and these are the last shreds
of the last seconds
of my pitiful life,
then I might as well get up,
because it’s my dream
and I might as well do as I please.
Suddenly, I realize
That I forgot what the world looks like
from an upright position,
and like a fog lifting from a sunny shore,
I discover that I am standing–
I can walk!
Everything is a blur–
Except the face of that man,
The man I thought was a fake,
The man I thought was just another scalawag
Who fleeces the helpless.
He can be none other than the Son of God,
I know that now.
The shame begins to sink in,
but this man’s face alone tells me
this sin is already forgiven also.
“These are strange days!”
yells someone in the crowd.
I can assure you, friend,
that no one has had a stranger day than me.
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.