What if I was the man by the pool of Bethesda? (John 5)
Laying there for 38 years. There's nobody to help me get into the pool. The only proximal hope that I will be healed. And even that is far away when your community decides the distance is too far to travel. That act of moving me from this grounded mat to the life-restoring pool is too big a burden for them to shoulder. They have all moved on to baking bread, bathing infants, and bringing wares to sell at market. The longer I bake here in the sun, the lighter the burden feels for them. Amazing what time can do. For many, it heals. For others, it commits the pain. Time only heals wounds when they've got healthy people injecting antibodies of community into the pain of another. This replaces the pain with moments of joy. But, for some of us, it only replaces our pain with more recent pain.
So, where does that leave me?
I know. It leaves me stranded on this island of a mat, longing for the life of the waters. Yet, the waters remain a mirage to me, while a reality to others. I hear the cheers of others as they are lowered into the pools and raised with sores healed and limbs moving. I hear the jubilation of family members who thought the prison doors of a stroke would remain forever locked.
Here I lie.
The scuffles of the poor and lame have become a cadence of hopelessness to me, Until, that is, the swirling fog of dust settles to reveal feet standing at my eye's level. Someone stops. The cadence of passing strangers halts. For me. They halt for me. Certainly I will be asked to move while someone else is brought to water's edge.
Both speaking to me.
"Do you want to be healed?"
I'm not even sure I know. I've resigned to the plane of hopelessness for so long that sitting upright in healing expectancy...I can't even visualize it.
"Get up, take your bed, and walk."
After this man, those eyes, that offer to be healed, I found myself rolling up my mat. As if I have been transfixed by his presence. I pick up the mat that has held my life in its straw. I actively tell my mind how to move my toes. Movement has been archived for 38 years. 38 years is close to life expectancy for me, but I have very little to expect from life.
I put one foot in front of the other; cautious at the potential betrayal of my healing. For so long I have seen and heard victory for others. I have abandoned the idea that victory was for me. My body seems to be the object of other people's gratitude. I've heard it, "I am grateful that my body has not failed me like that man's on the. mat."
But not today.
Today is victory! It's my turn for victory!
My walking pace quickens as if my synapses have woken and am remembering how to walk. I swing my head around to thank the man and he is gone.
He simply healed me and went about his day. He restored my body. He restored my life.
I want to know about this man that require me to walk in my healing and nothing else.