One stood poised at the jumping off point of womanhood.
Hopes and dreams swirling in everyone’s head
like overripe melons
falling from the wagon and being dashed to fragments
on the cobblestone street.
We could not even see, only imagine
the blushing bride, her pink-cheeked children,
or the first grandchild.
So much to discover
of the woman she would be,
the gifts she would reveal,
the hidden pearls of her personality yet to form
because perhaps the grain of sand to form them
had not even entered her life yet.
In her father’s voice,
one could hear the hope draining from him
as swiftly as the fever drained her young life.
The other one
Had probably cursed her womanhood,
as it sapped her strength,
drained her soul,
savaged her body
for as many years as the child had flourished
in her short but beloved life.
It was probably a word with a hollow tinny sound
on the other woman’s ears,
dulled by the word “unclean”
for as long as she could remember.
She pressed forward
with a single thought
driving through her head
as if it had been hammered in like a nail–
“If only I could touch his robe,
he can heal me.”
“Why is he talking to her?”
they must have thought.
“Does he not hear Jairus
begging, pleading, bargaining?
Does he not know who he is?
He is one of the leaders of the synagogue.
Does he not realize
things might go better for him
if he were only more attentive?”
Jesus said he felt power drain for him
in that secret moment
that the woman who bled
torrents of hope from her own body
reached out and touched him.
I always have to wonder
if that was because
God knew there had to be room
for what the woman with the unceasing flow
had to let flow into Jesus
before he attended to Jairus’ daughter.
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.