I have always wanted to be somebody. I knew that I could be somebody, somebody special, somebody that people looked up to. I just needed the right formula in the right circumstance, with the right people, at the right time. That’s all. I feel that I was made to be somebody important.
My problem is that others don’t recognize it in me.
I’ve tried several things, but nobody seems to want to give me a break to do things in a big way. I keep saying to myself, “This is ‘hero time.’ This is where the real leaders will shine.” But something seems to always go wrong, regardless of how I plan and prepare. Something beyond my control seems to always step forward out of the dark shadows and trip me, right when I’m picking up speed.
Last month, there was a guy who came to our little town of Magdala. You could tell that he was really special. People followed him. People listened to him. He moved people. My sister Mary said that he had touched her in a way that nobody else ever had. She’s about half-crazy, so I didn’t pay her much mind. But after she told me that, I noticed that she didn’t seem quite so crazy, at all, at all.
At Mary’s insistence, I went to see him one day. He was teaching people down by the shore. After I listened for awhile, I saw that this was somebody special, and he didn’t even try to be special. It just came out of him. I followed him around for two days. I got a feel for how he moved people, but I never saw him doing anything designed to arouse their emotions, their passions. People just responded to his presence. I also saw that there were people who simply touched him and were never the same again. I think my sister Mary was one of them.
His name, she told me, was Jesus. He left town after a few days, and she decided to follow him. At least as far as Capernaum. I told her that people would talk, if she just took up and followed a man and his little band of disciples. She looked downward, and then while her head was tilted downward, looked up at me through the tops of her eyes and said, “Really? Do you think after all they’ve said about me over these past years (“Crazy Mary!” “Demon possessed Mary!” etc., etc.) that I worry about what people say. This man has given me my life back.
And so, she went. People kept talking about that Jesus after he left. I heard them. I heard them tell about how he had healed people. I even heard whispering about “He made Crazy Mary well.”
I began to wish that I had gone with Mary. I wished that I could see what was his secret. He was able to do what I knew was always my destiny. And then, I thought, “Well, why can’t I do what he did?” It really began as an accident. I was coming home from the market one day, and I saw a Roman soldier go by me on a chariot – traveling much too fast. The little neighbor boy didn’t see or hear the chariot in time; he was too busy playing. And the chariot hit, and ran over, the little boy. That lousy guy just kept on going; he never even stopped.
I ran up to the boy and he was hurting a lot. I thought he would cry, but instead the boy passed out. I was afraid he was going to die. It just wasn’t right. He never did anything to hurt anyone. I wanted to chase down that soldier and … and what? I didn’t have any power. I couldn’t do anything.
I’ve never had any power. I’ve never been able to do anything. I just sat there in the dirt and held that boy in my arms. I could feel him, could feel his body doing something. Was he dying? I just closed my eyes, and held they boy close to my chest. I just held him and opened by whole heart up to God. I don’t think I prayed for anything. I just was as clear and unfettered in my connection to God as I have ever been.
I don’t know how long that lasted: me there on the ground holding that little boy, with absolutely no thought in my head. And then the word, “Jesus” came to mind, out of nowhere, it seemed.
“Jesus.” That’s all. “Jesus.” I said it. And then I stopped. Stopped and remained very, very still. And the little boy opened his eyes, and opened his mouth, and screamed so loudly! But he was alive, and he was alright.
I didn’t know what to do. He scrambled out of my arms and ran down the road screaming his head off, all the way to his home. Nobody saw anything. Just me, the little boy, and Jesus – the name “Jesus.” He wasn’t there. Jesus had left with my sister and the others yesterday.
I was going to tell somebody. But I didn’t know what to say. So I just kept it to myself.
I never breathed a word about this to anyone. But, apparently the little boy did. His father came to me a couple of days later. He asked me if I was doing magic. He asked me where my crazy sister Mary was. I didn’t want to be special anymore. I just wanted to be. I knew that I had always been special.
It’s happened a couple of times since then. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and I was able to go once more into that really pure, pure prayer place. And when the name “Jesus” comes to mind, I say it. And miracles happen.
I can’t explain it. I don’t try. It’s just real. And that’s all I can tell you.
(c) February 21, 2013
The foregoing is a “midrash” on Mark 9:38-41, in this continuing series of midrashes on the unnamed little people making cameo appearances in the Gospel of Mark. (For definition of midrash, please see January 14, 2103 blog: “An Unexpected Encounter with Jesus”)
John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.”