What if His hem unravels?

SONY DSCI am not the crispest lettuce in the salad so I never gave intense consideration to the biblical account of the woman with the issue of blood (Mark 5:24-34) beyond pity, and relief for her happy ending.

Last month I read it again, and when I got to verse 33—But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth—my soggy brain said “I know why she was afraid.”

Before revealing the brainstorm, here is the rising action (also told in Matthew and Luke):
For twelve years a certain woman had some sort of hemorrhage. She paid all her money to doctors, but ended up worse off than before. She heard about Jesus. She toiled through the crowds surrounding Him because she KNEW she just needed to touch His clothing and she’d be well.
She was right. She touched the hem of his garment and was cured. INSTANTLY.
But then.
Jesus stopped. His disciples stopped. His groupies stopped. He demanded to know who touched him. The woman knew she wouldn’t get away with joining in the chorus from the exasperated pragmatists who, in essence, asked, “Are you kidding? Who hasn’t touched you?”
But she knew He knew and came forward in fear to face her Healer.

Here is where I paused. Why the fear?
Because she knew she wasn’t supposed to be among people? Or touch a man?
A Jewish woman with a twelve year issue of blood—any issue of blood—was unclean, physically and ceremonially.
No one could touch her.
She could touch no one.
She couldn’t even enter the temple to worship.

Everyone had turned from her. Family, friends, even, it seemed, a holy God. No money, no hope, no future. Just her and her issue of blood.
Physicians had failed. Remarkably, though they couldn’t take away her bloody discharge, neither could they take her faith. Or courage, or determination. My pity sprouted a seedling of respect.

This lonely, fragile, destitute woman gathered her shreds of clothing and her shards of faith, and dragged her unclean, untouchable self through a milling, chattering, surging throng of humanity. She reached Jesus of Nazareth and reached out to touch the bottom of his garment.

That was all she needed. One touch and the flow dried up immediately. She wasn’t just on the road to recovery, she was ALL BETTER. For the first time in a dozen years the blood pumping from her heart could gallop through her pulmonary valve and artery, dash to her lungs for oxygen, made a quick stop back to her heart, (beating firm and strong and steady) and leap on through valves, ventricles, aorta. Hemoglobin-drenched, it was finally put to optimal use instead of wasted in discharge.

She felt it. Full and healthy and whole and CLEAN.
But then, before she could melt back into the crowd, Jesus called her. And she had to come. Shaking.

So. Was she fearful because she knew she had violated the Law? Maybe.
But I know why I would be trembling as I drew nearer.

Those brief few moments with life in her blood and blood giving her life had been too good. Too good to last. He was going to take His healing back. She had tasted completeness just long enough to remember how lovely it was and now she’d be punished for stealing His power.

That’s why I would be afraid. Not because I had defied the law, or touched a man. But because, although faith and hope had accomplished what I sought, it would be snatched away from me. I know my unworthiness. I know the depth of uncleanness in me that has nothing to do with a body prone to blood loss and everything to do with a heart prone to deceit. Those beautiful, complete, unsoiled moments were already more than I deserved and the healing would be snatched away. I would be worse off than before.

That would be me. Not daring to love the gift too much, because I wouldn’t be able to keep it.

Whatever made her fearful, the woman who for a brief moment had been able to stand tall, fell to the ground before her Physician. She confessed everything and waited to once again feel her lifeblood drain away.

“Daughter,” the Giver said. Then she knew she would be whole and pure forever.

Wildely Tart



SONY DSC“Paradoxically though it may seem, it is none the less true that life imitates art far more than art imitates life.”
― Oscar Wilde

If dear Oscar could see art these days he may have added to the above little aphorism:
“and heaven help us all.’

Let’s start with an assumption: TV is a 21st century artform. (Work with me here)
And let’s, given the 21st century’s fascination with word smash-ups,
call this merger of
TV and art
(For purposes of this article we refer almost solely to the manifestation of Tart called ‘dramas’ since comedies make few attempts at portraying life realistically and ‘reality shows’ are so divorced from reality as to be classified ‘science fiction.’

Life, imitating Tart, would mean;

-the most dangerous job, bar none, is security guard. When, on TV cop shows, do security guards ever not get killed?

-when thieves or snoops sneak into a house, they will find it perfectly tidy, bed made, dishes done, paperwork filed and fridge shelves polished to a Turtle Wax glow.

-anyone trying to hack into someone’s (crumb-free) computer will need no more than 5 tries to figure out the private password.

-law enforcement comes to a house looking for a suspect/witness/person of interest. After 2 quick knocks and an ‘Anybody home?’ bellow they will enter via the (usually) unlatched door. And they never, ever, consider that the suspect/witness/P.O.I could be in the loo/lavatory/restroom.

-once in, there is a 98% chance they will find a dead body. Perhaps the loo was the best place to be after all.

-those desiring  a dangerous job but preferring to avoid the 100% mortality rate of the security guard profession, might consider law enforcement. Guaranteed job security (unless your network contract is up) and thrills that come from being shot, concussed, bruised, kidnapped, and compromised. Applicants should have a deep secret in their past and/or family member(s) killed by someone evil. Must be willing to devote all free time and several seasons tracking this evildoer.

-great coworkers abound, who love each other so much that they spend major holidays with each other instead of extended family.

-serial killers are more common than mudhens.

-those leaping from 2nd/3rd story windows to escape any given serial killer will land in the back of a dump truck filled with something soft and buoyant. When this cushiony substance is impacted by the escapee’s weight, a chain of dump truck events is triggered. These include the ignition turning over, gears being engaged and the unsuspecting truck chauffeuring the escapee to safety.

-cars (built according to Tart specifications) will explode on impact. Any impact.

-cars (built according to Tart specifications) self-steer. As miles of scenery whirl merrily past, the driver can chat, face-to face, with the front seat passenger.

-victim-types will go alone to a deserted spot to meet an avowed enemy, this in spite of the decades of disastrous consequences experienced by predecessor (and deceased) Tarts who did the same thing.

-anyone put in the witness protection program because something that shouldn’t have been seen was seen, will have a teenage offspring along. The offspring WILL climb out a window to meet friends and endanger themselves, the family, and national security.

-innocent types, on the run from gangsters in a city of 5 million people, will bump into them when turning a corner.

-a sports team of out of shape, clueless non-athletic, lovable quirky loser-types, in less than one season, will improve to the extent that they will beat the buff, haughty, talented jockkids who have been training in this sport since the cradle.

-pregnant women will deliver a spotless 15 pound infant after 30 minutes of labor, anywhere but a hospital and by anyone but a doctor.

And finally, because Tart is where we gain wisdom and comfort and joy—

-when one is in the midst of deepest despair and self-doubt and failure, a wise sage will offer those remarkable, magical, those life-changing words, (or what we like to call the
“I believe in you. Now you must believe in yourself.”

Too bad the tragic Oscar Wilde didn’t have Tart around to imitate.