When Did THAT Happen?

Read Mark 3:1-6  

Aside from my circumcision, I don’t suppose there are too many changes in my body that I remember exactly when they happened. Like many things in life, we might remember when we first noticed the change, but not when the change itself happened.

Like my withered hand. I can no longer type. One hand works, but the other one just won’t respond. I used to be good at typing. No secretary ever had job security based merely on typing skills, for I always was a better typist. It was a matter of pride.

It came on slowly; I can’t even tell you when it began. Typing along and I looked up and saw the spell check color underlining splayed out across the document like some sort of “modern art.”  It eventually occurred to me that the mistakes were all the fault of my left hand.

I looked at it. Nothing at first. But, over time, I noticed that when I laid the left hand down on top of the right one, I could see the right one sticking out — the left hand was smaller.

It got worse over time. Smaller, smaller. And, I swear, the skin seemed to shrivel up, like you see the peeling on an orange that has stayed in the fruit basket too long. You don’t realize when that peel first began to shrivel, but there it was. Oranges are one thing; hands are quite another. I usually throw the orange away and go get another.

I began to fear that the same would happen to my hand; I would have to throw it away. No! It may be shriveled up, and it may not work like it used to, but it’s been part of me for my whole life. It’s been a good hand! Even when things lose their usefulness, you don’t just throw them away – fruit maybe, but not people’s body parts.

And it’s MY body part. Other people may feel differently. They may decide that if I can’t carry my share of the load – or if I’m too unpleasant to look at – then maybe I should be thrown away. It’s not THEIR body part. Some people only care about productivity. Just look at how they treat older folks who can’t keep up, at women who need to take time off to have the babies their men impregnated them to carry.

I just have to work harder, produce more, make myself indispensable.

It didn’t work. Hard as I tried, I could not keep up.

Hard as I tried, I couldn’t hide the deformity. People tried (mostly) to not stare, but I kept catching them – looking from one hand to the other, wondering what I had done to bring this condition on myself.

Hard as I tried, I could not help the fact that I did not feel like a man – not a whole man – not a man with full worth.

And then, one day in the synagogue, I met Jesus. Yes, there’s another time when I remember exactly when my body changed. When I met Jesus.

I just never could figure out why his healing me would make some of those people so angry. What was more important to them: my hand or their teaching? I bet it would have been different if it had been THEIR hand and not merely MINE.


(c) 2013 0215

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