Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Desire (01/17/05)
TITLE: Bartimaeus' Lament (Mark10: 46 - 52)
By Lisa Smith
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What a day that was, a day I will never forget. Of course you would not, you say, a man whose sight is restored would surely remember the day it happened! And I do, down to the slightest detail. The noise of the crowd, heard from a far distance. Something unusual was happening. As I inquired of passers-by, they told me what it was. The Rabbi! The Healer from Nazareth! He was coming by my very spot! Oh, the hope in my heart! The feel of the breeze on my face as the crowd grew nearer. I had heard such tales of this man! As I called out to him, my voice seemed unheard over the din. You do not know my desperation in my heart, you cannot unless all that you desire suddenly appears before you and you fear its loss. He was my only hope, I knew that even then. And it is true, but not in the way I thought then. Would that I had known! But, even if I did, would I have changed what had happened? This is the question that haunts me.
The crowd shushed me, impatient, uncomfortable with my need. I only cried louder. I could not see him, did not know where he was. Of course I would not be silent, would you? Sudden stillness, then. A hush. A murmuring of the crowd. These last moments of darkness, I relive them often! I stumble forward, propelled by the hands of the people. Stopping, I sense his regard. He is there, the Rabbi! I know it, and fall to my knees. Now that I have achieved my goal, I am struck dumb. You see, I knew even then that he was different. The blind rely on senses that the sighted have no need for. And I tell you, that in that moment I was on holy ground.
Then, the question. I cringe now, remembering. That he should ask me. Here is my shame, exposed for all to see. You say I am too hard on myself, that it is understandable. I tell you no, it is you that do not understand. Do you not remember that I knew he was different? And don’t you think he knew of my knowledge? Why else would he ask, why? A simple question, put to a blind man by a healer: What do you want me to do for you? And foolish man that I am, I answered: Lord, I want to regain my sight.
The first thing I saw was his face. An ordinary face, really, but for the eyes. He had given my sight gladly, that I saw, for he smiled. How new this all was, how strange. My faith had made me well, he said, and I suppose it was true. But those eyes, they haunt me now. Understand, I was ignorant of human expression, unable to comprehend their depths. Now I look back and see the regret in them, and it tears my soul.
How I wish I had that moment back! I would answer now as I should have when I had the chance: I want you to bless me, I want you to make me whole, not just my eyes but my needy soul. You can change me, I know you can. I am unworthy, but you are not. Jesus, Rabbi, please, I want you to change me.
You scoff at this now, I know. But I tell you again, he was different. Too different. You know that’s why they killed him. Just yesterday he hung on that foul Roman tree like a common criminal.
Cursed eyes, that I would see him die!
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