“Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, ‘If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.’ Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you.’ And the woman was healed at that moment.” – Matthew 9:20-22
This has been a very tough year for me for various reasons. My 93 year old mother is not doing well. My brother has had serious health issues, and I, too, have not been on top of it all. The illnesses I had leave me with little energy. It was hard to get into Lent which usually rejuvenates me because I was sick and, so, Easter this year almost felt like just another Sunday.
This Easter season also coincided with the 20th anniversary of our second son’s suicide death. The season always reminds us of it, but this year was one where the actual dates were very close to the date of his birthday and the date he died. We have all missed him very much this year. Anniversaries bring this up and 20 years seem huge. Maybe it’s the decade thing. Guilt feelings come up, what-ifs hang around. I was not a good mother. Really, I wasn’t. There were lots of reasons, but I didn’t give my children what they needed. I can only ask for their forgiveness and so I do. “Please forgive me for not being the mother you needed and that I really wanted to be. I am so very sorry.” In all truth, I was a mess.
When God peels off and transforms another layer of junk it is often raw and painful. For no real reason I feel plagued with insecurities which I had thought healed. But in case we all, especially me, get caught up in sorrow and self-pity, I must say that this is a resurrection story, too. I know our son and brother lives again. And I live, too. Even before his death, knowing I couldn’t change the past, I decided that I had to follow a different path – a path of transformation – and that I couldn’t make the changes alone. I needed doctors, I needed community, and I especially needed Jesus. The only way I could help my children heal was to get healed myself and to let them know that there is another much better way to travel and I was going to take it. It is the Jesus way where we find the healing we need and that he brings to us in so many different ways.
God loves to heal messes, but still some, not all, of the scars may remain. Like Jesus’ scars, they are part of our story. Jesus didn’t leave his apprentices until he showed them his scars. Then he tells them to go tell everyone the things he said and did. And do the things he did. The scars and our healing are part of the witness we have to share with others, painful though our story may be.
The scripture above came to me early in the week. Paraphrased a bit, I say “If I can only touch Jesus, I will be healed.” My time of solitude and silent prayer is a big part of how I touch him. I still do have days when I fall into doom and gloom. I have days when I feel insecure. But Jesus loves us just as we are. He also loves us way too much to let us stay that way. I am very grateful.