This is different from where I normally go when I share here, but I can’t get her out of my mind. I’m finding myself on the streets with her. My right shoulder is brushing up against her left one. She’s slightly hunched over so I stand a bit taller than her, but our hearts; our hearts are resting on parallel lines.

I can tell she is tired in the way only other women can tell. She carries her tired in her shoulders, her weak knees, her slightly shaky hand. And I’m not speaking of tired in the physical, I am speaking tired over her whole being. Tired rose from her bones.

I could almost smell it.

When I finally catch her eye, I can see the emptiness. It’s as if lies have sunk so deep into sockets that they have sunk into her mind, too. Grave eyes. We exchange a glance but her eyes dart to a man in front of us. The man whose name is ringing across the dirt path.

Jesus.

It’s quite obvious she isn’t from around here. I’ve never seen her in my town. I have good reason to think she is an outcast. Her shoulders, her weak knees, her shaky hands. As I think about her empty eyes, we are shoved and our hands slightly touch.

She flinches.

We are so different, her and I.

And yet, our hearts resting on parallel lines.

Refugee Crisis

{Photo credit: Unsplash | James Ballard}

Refugee Crisis

{Photo credit: Unsplash | Rob Bye}

The crowd moves forward and we move with it. She presses forward. Tired bones with motivation, weary with well-intentioned grit. She wants to see this man, Jesus. She shuffles faster, stronger.

I shuffle with her.

And because my right shoulder is still pressed against her tired left, I feel her hand go up, up to the robe of the man named Jesus. I can see her fingers touch the hem. Is anyone else watching?

And just like that the shuffling stops and warm sun falls on my face. I could feel the warmth because I must have been cold (and I didn’t even know I was freezing in my bones).

And that man in front of us, stops, his right foot slightly in front of his left. His shoulders higher than mine, but our hearts resting on parallel lines. He turns, saying, “Who touched me?” To my left I hear a man whisper, “Master, the crowds are hemming you in and pressing against you.”

But this Jesus found her eyes, the woman with shaky hands, and looked into the empty lies and spoke directly to the darkness looming inside them, “Someone did touch me. I know that power has gone out from me.”

And her grave eyes blink and her weak knees fall and her shaky hands still shook and dirt becomes her landing place. And then she spoke, shoulders slumped. I could hear her voice rise to Him.

I have travelled thirty miles just to see you. I have been bleeding for 12 years. I have been called unclean, an outcast. I have no home. No place. I have no one.

Her words, slowly come out like syrup pouring over the dirt.

She felt condemned and alone.

Outcast.

OUTCAST.

It was the lie that filled the graves in her eyes. The dirt that took the light out.

His feet right before her now. Her heart neither parallel nor above, but bowing.

He listened. I listened. The sun still shining on my skin.

And he put his right foot in front of his left, and brought his left knee to the dirt, next to her shaky hand. He rested his hand on her slumped shoulder and took his other hand to lift her chin.

He took her two grave eyes and matched them with his. He paused so the sun could fill the space and he whispered tenderly, “Daughter.”

I could hear it. I felt like he whispered it to me, too.

“Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

And I saw it happening, the ushering of new life. Two hearts resting in parallel lines rose together. And as they rose, I caught a glance of those once sunken graves and the sunshine glowed of resurrection.

Church, we have been called to bow with the graven eyes, align our hearts with the outcast, and rise with them.

Will we walk in the dirt with them? Will we give way to resurrection?

(All text adapted from Luke 8)

PS I’ve also included a read-aloud of this piece because I believe in the power of the spoken word. If you’d like, close your eyes and take yourself to that dirt road with me.

 

Christian, the refugee crisis + Luke 8 from Whitney Putnam on Vimeo.