A thought hit me right before I started my evening “wind down” ritual of reading words and warm water. I sat in my room thinking of the way that we carry people, the weight that we commit to, and long term love and friendship. The thought was an image, a story and a realization all in one.
It is an image of friends lowering a man on a stretcher through the ceiling down to the sandaled and dusty feet of a teacher, the room tense and quiet as all held their breath at the audacity, and then the murmuring quickly rippling out into the crowd outside- This.
It is a story of a man paralyzed and unable to carry himself, carried by his friends only to find that there were too many people gathered around for him to be seen. It is a story of the friends who said, “but wait,” and then brought him to the roof, and then dug through the ceiling, and then lowered him down expectant. And it is the story of Jesus- who saw “their faith” and lifted the weight of darkness and inner turmoil first, before healing the body. It is a story of an impossible and improbable healing that would not have happened without some serious cojones-This.
It is a realization that I need to be carried now, and that my friends have been carrying me with “their faith” for a while now. Like the man I feel paralyzed and unable to hope. When I see the crowds gathered around Jesus, and when I see their backs closing me out with their exuberance and quick assurance, my impulse is to tell my pallet bearers to turn around. When, instead, what I really need is for them to pass me overhead, carry me up the stairs, and hack away at the sun-hardened exterior until they find a space for me at the feet of our teacher. I need Jesus and I need help getting there- Always this.
Suddenly, now, this catches the torn and worn edges of my heart and pulls like a crochet hook- outward, inward, knitting back together and forming a different pattern.
I would like to thank everyone who has carried me, and my family, in this time. Oh how we have needed you. There have been voices answering their telephones, hands quietly holding ours, and tears and hugs, and it has meant the world. And I would like to ask you to keep carrying us now. Carry us to the only one who can heal soul and body. Maybe the only words we need to hear are, “but wait” as you make the impossible feel possible. When we loose heart because the voice inside says that it is too dark, and it feels like the crowd outside is too heavy, will you lift us with your faith for just a little bit longer?
Luke 5:17-26, Mark 2:1-12, Matthew 9:1-8