Homily: I Will Be Made Well

 

There are experiences that seem to come as interruptions, stories that shoulder their way into the story we think we are living. Intent upon my individual tale, face turned toward the destination I am bent upon, I can resent the intrusions, the ways that other stories sometimes press upon, break through, waylay my own.

A woman is bleeding. Exhausted. Spent. For years her life has been draining from her. Twelve years, if we’ll be precise: the exact span of time that the child—the girl, the daughter of Jairus—has been alive. The daughter who now hovers near death, her father pleading with Jesus to come and make her well.  Jesus goes to the girl, and is halted midway by the woman. With one gesture, one desperate reaching out of her hand toward the hem of Jesus’ robe, the bleeding woman breaks into the narrative. She interrupts the tale of healing that the gospel is seeking to tell.

With her aching gesture, the woman compels us to see that our stories do not come to us unbroken and discrete, spinning out in tidy and autonomous arcs. The story of the healing of the woman becomes bound with the story of the healing of the girl, their individual stories becoming one story. An interruption becomes an intertwining: a story made more whole by the joining of its parts. A story that is still being pieced together in the living of our own tales, and in the telling of them.  What stories will we allow to break through, to interrupt, to intertwine with our own? What stories are bound with ours, their fragments joining to create a tale more complete than the one we could tell alone? What story do you need to receive or to tell in order to become more whole: to be made well?

Janet Richardson, a recognized theologian, artist and poet, has written a poem that describes these interuptions in our pain by the pain of others, in verse.

Here’s this way I know how long

you have been waiting

for your story to take

a different turn,

how far

you have gone in search

of what will mend you

and make you whole.

I bear no remedy,

no cure,

no miracle

for the easing

of your pain.

But I know

the medicine

that lives in a story

that has been

broken open.

I know

the healing that comes

in ceasing

to hide ourselves away

with fingers clutched

around the fragments

we think are

ours alone.

 

See how they fit together,

these shards

we have been carrying:

how piece to piece

they make a way

we could not

find alone.

© Jan L. Richardson

 

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