Desperate. Shunned. Lonely. Long, long, long suffering.
I vacillate between seeking healing one more time and believing that I shall never be healed.
Why try? Why not try? Why try? Why not try?
I’ve been dismissed. I’ve been given hope. I’ve grown sicker, not more healed.
Now one more possibility. Is it worth hoping? Or easier to accept this is the end of the story and I shall be as I already am?
Maybe a tentative attempt is better than none…just to touch the hem of His garment.
What if…what if…what if that would stop this incessant ache and drain and pain?
I slip into the crowd, my head bowed and covered, not meeting anyone’s eyes. If anyone sees me who knows me, I’ll be accused of infiltrating others with filth. To be stealth is all that works for me.
I slide in close, touch the hem, for I am short and He is not.
Then I turn to slink away, yet the warmth of something new ripples up and down my spine. Could it be? Could healing have come at last for me?
Jesus turns as I turn.
I feel His gaze upon my back.
His words unveil me: “Who touched My clothes?”
I stop stunned.
The disciples stop, incredulous. “Jesus, everyone has touched You. You’ve passed between this thick pack of bodies.”
I hear a voice like a waterfall, refreshing.
“Who touched Me?”
I turn back and catch His eyes so full of delight. Well, I’m exposed, but who cares?
I grin so big. He knows without my saying a word. Still, I speak.
“I touched You.”
He takes my hand.
I smile and cry all at once, awed and raw.
No one has claimed me as their own in so long.
Tears cascade down my face.
“Your faith has made you well.”
I want to shout: “I beg to differ. It’s Your touch. It’s Your eyes. It’s Your voice.”
Jesus brushes the tears aside. “Daughter. Go in peace.”
Ah, yes. What else is there but blessed joy and peace in His healing touch?
“Be healed of your disease.”
Is there yet more healing to come?
He envelops me in His arms of love.
I savor His embrace.
I’d follow Him anywhere.
I am giddy as I go forth with my head held high for He lifted my chin, my heart, my illness, my very life.
A bit more about this reflection from Mark 5: 21-31, Matthew 9:20-22, and Luke 8:40-48. My ponderings came from imaginatively praying through the passages in the Bible as if I was a character in the story.
As a spiritual director, I choose to step into places of spiritual direction for my own soul. I cannot offer to another what I do not experience myself.
Twelve years ago, as part of my deepening life with God, I walked the path of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius. Praying daily through Jesus’ life story allowed a deep dive into the story of my own heart. Weekly for a year, I met my spiritual director as God unveiled places where He was working His transformation.
Ten years later, I again daily engaged with Christ through imaginative prayer and St. Ignatius’ Exercises. Over the course of a year, each week my spiritual director and I examined my journey with Jesus. I shifted from who I had been to who God continually invites me to be.
To slow down in the presence of God via the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius moved me from the surface to the depths of my heart. My heart’s disordered and ordered place were revealed. I began to ask new questions as I sat with Jesus.
What is the desire beneath the desire?
What am I aching for, God?
How are You, God, wanting to move me forward into a place of growth?
As we conversed, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit spoke words of invitation and examination to my heart. In imaginative prayer, I heard the voice of God with a freshness that startled and delighted me. I’ve found it one way of entering prayer and Scripture that keeps me surprised and alert to the Spirit’s movements.
Have you ever tried imaginative prayer as a way to converse with God? If not, I’d encourage you to join me in the unexpected places of seeing the word of God come alive.