Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BROKEN (12/06/18)
TITLE: The price of tears
By Jack Taylor
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In reflection, I had no warning that things could go wrong. The evening sun left a gorgeous glow of pastel reds, pinks, oranges, yellows and blues crowding the skyline like some child had emptied their painting palette on heaven’s walls. A sympathetic breeze nuzzled the branches and the leaves of the palms and provided an orchestral melody of peace. The gladiolas in the garden perfumed the air with a tantalizing welcome to the dozens of guests who had shuffled in out of the business of life to taste of the delicacies loitering on the two dozen tabletops around the garden.
The guest of honor chatted freely with those who sidled up to meet him and the laughter and ease he brought made it all seem so right. I could hear the schmoozing. “Bethany is so honored that you’ve taken time from your busy schedule. Simon is so grateful that you’ve honored him with your presence.” All the words that should be said to stroke the right egos.
I probably should have screened the guests a little better. Perhaps I was in too good a mood after getting a clean bill of health. After all, my original diagnosis had been soul-wrenching but this wonder worker had done what no one else in the medical profession had been able to do.
Sometimes you get so busy with the big things that you forget the little things. Has that ever happened to you? The menu and décor and venue are all good but the piece that makes the difference is overlooked.
I didn’t even notice the woman sifting her way through the crowded room. She wasn’t attired even as fine as those who catered the meal. She gave no hint of her intentions. I should have noticed that she held something hidden in the head covering she had used to wrap it.
The guest of honor was resting, chatting, in the middle of a tantalizing discourse. And then it happened.
The woman broke the spout of an alabaster box and a volcanic sensory explosion of hypnotic pleasure erupted into the room all over us. It had been years since I’d encountered such pure Indian nard washing over anyone who wasn’t already in mourning.
The chatter was shattered and silence held a death grip on everyone’s tongue.
The intruder hardly seemed to notice. She simply poured a year’s worth of liquid Himalayan gold onto the head of my guest. When an ounce would have sufficed, she emptied the lot and held it suspended above the crown of his scalp until the last drop eased on out.
The response around me was harsh. “What a waste! What about the poor?”
The woman was broken as she sobbed, tears flowing down onto the guest of honor’s feet. She dropped to her knees in front of us all without shame and began to dry his feet with her hair, kissing them and spreading more of the ointment on the bare soles of his feet.
I knew that trash like this should never be allowed near the master and in my heart I wondered if I had misjudged him.
Instead of talking to her, he turned to me and told asked me a simple question. “Simon, if a banker forgives the loans of two people, one who owes him millions and one who owes him a little – which of the two will love him more?”
I thought he was trying to distract the crowd so I went along with it. “The one who owed more,” I said.
“You’re right,” Yeshua said. “When I came to your dinner party you didn’t offer to let me wash up while this broken woman has washed my feet and even dried them with her hair. She anointed me and the sins which mark her as broken are all forgiven. She is whole.”
If you’ve never been broken in front of a room filled with everyone you’re trying to impress then take my word for it, it isn’t something you cherish.
After everyone left, I gathered up those broken bits of alabaster and I guard them in the corner of my living room where few others will ever look. I will never host a dinner party where I forget the important things.
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