Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Hair (07/04/19)
- TITLE: Mercy Mud
By Donna Powers
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Those were the dreams she whispered into my ears, on those afternoons when she lovingly washed and brushed my hair.
But like many other young girls, my heart was easily captured by the flashing eyes of a faithless traveler, who left soon after he got me with child. The child did not survive, and my mother bitterly said that was for the best. The people of the village cast me out. Even my mother tearfully told me to leave and make my own way.
I still had my beautiful hair, and remembered how to bring out the best of my alluring features. So when I left town, I took up the only profession I seemed to be suited for.
No matter that I was surviving the only way I could, on most days I was steeped in guilt and regret. Each hopeless day, as I readied myself for the endless nights, I prayed for a miracle to turn my life back to the destiny my mother had prepared me for.
Yesterday, I heard a story of a woman who had foolishly formed a relationship with a married man. Those of us who work this profession know better than to form an ongoing relationship with a man. For that woman, the Law was clear: the woman must be stoned.
But she wasn’t.
The story told of a Man Who stopped the men from stoning her; by reminding them they had sins of their own. Once the woman’s accusers slinked away, the Man told her to go and sin no more.
I knew in an instant: that Man was my chance. If He could do that for her...
I learned where He would be staying. I didn’t know what that woman had said or done to earn His mercy. But, I knew I had to find Him - and to do or give Him whatever it took to earn the same redemption. What could I possibly offer Him? I chose the most valuable thing I owned: an alabaster box filled with nard, given by a grateful client.
I traveled long hours but at last, I found Him; sitting in an olive grove with His men. Tentatively, I went up to Him. He turned to me and smiled. In His eyes was infinite forgiveness; in His smile was endless mercy.
From that moment, I knew my dream had come true. I was overcome with joy; it poured from my soul in rivers of penitent tears. Overcome, I fell to the ground. My tears flowed over His dusty feet.
When I stopped crying, I saw my tears had turned the dust on His feet to a coating of mud. I knew I must wipe and dry them. I also knew - instinctively - to use the very thing I'd used to entice the men I’d led into our mutual sin. Heedlessly, I lavished my hair over His feet and wiped and dried them. My once-beautiful hair became coated with the grime from His feet - and I didn’t care. To me, this mud held the essence of mercy. After His feet were clean, driven by an urge I didn’t understand, I opened my alabaster box and spread the precious nard over His feet.
As I anointed His feet, memories poured into my mind. I dimly recalled the priests at the temple using this same aromatic nard to show adoration to God - as part of the worship services I'd attended. And I somehow knew I was doing the right thing.
As I stepped away, His eyes still shone with mercy and forgiveness. Slowly, I took the shawl I'd been wearing on my and plaited and wrapped my hair - mercy mud and all. My hair would now be covered; just like an honorable woman.
For I knew this is what His forgiveness had made me. I will no longer use my hair to entice men into sin. I know not what my future holds. But, like the woman in the story I'd heard - I knew I would also go and sin no more.
Based on Luke 7:36-50
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