A Bruised Reed He Will Not Break

I see him descending the mountain with a crowd. Does he know I’m here, on the edges and removed? Outside. Always outside. Does he have words for one such as me or are his words for them alone? I must know, for only he can help.

“Unclean!” I shout. “Unclean!”

With the babble of voices surrounding him, no one hears. I cry louder.

“Unclean! Unclean!”

Those closest to me hear my words and scatter. Those beside them turn and see me: torn clothes, hair uncovered, hands covering my mouth while I shout. They understand even if they can’t hear. A path opens.

Not like the parting made for princes or priests. No. More like the Sea’s parting—violent and eager to return to its resting place.

But the Teacher stands silently, eyes fixed on me. I can’t hold back. I run to the man and fall at his feet. I dare not touch those sacred feet or even brush his sandals. Words bubble within me, but for a time I can say nothing, just kneel with my forehead in the dust at his feet.

The crowd grows impatient, its unease palpable, so at last I speak.

“If you’re willing, you can make me well.”

It’s all I can think to say. I look at my scabbed hands and flaky skin. My body breaking into pieces, the stuff that binds it dissolving before my eyes. It is too much to ask, even of him. This is my lot, my fate, the will of Him who made me. I’m prepared for a rebuke, but it doesn’t come.

Instead, a hand settles on my shoulder. I gasp.

“I am willing,” he says.

There is no flash of light, no thunderclap. But skin that was dead is now alive. My hands stretch out—whole and unmarred—to cradle those blessed feet. His hand rests on my shoulder still, holding me together as I weep in the dust and dirt.

I’ve been healed.

I am whole.

I belong.

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