Reaching for hope

For years I have been bleeding. A constant dirtiness, impurity, shame. The kind of dirtiness that cuts me off from family, friends and loved ones. I cannot come close in case I damage them somehow and I am afraid. I have tried everything to get clean – washing, scrubbing, doctors, but still it remains and I can do nothing about it.

But then, hope comes. I hear of his miracles, his power, his purity. I hear of his heart, his character, his beauty. Maybe, just maybe, he would be willing to turn his eyes and his heart towards me?

I hear the sound, the clamour that announces his arrival. The sound of expectancy that grows and I dare to let hope rise in my heart. In my dirtiness I get up and walk towards the promise of healing and belonging. I push through the crowd, my eyes fixed on him, and on him alone.

Suddenly he is there and I am there. I barely notice the crowds of others, so strong is the hope propelling me forward. But then the feelings overwhelm me:
You are dirty.
You should be hiding away.
This can’t be for you.
He will punish you.

I can’t do it – I can’t stop him and talk to him. The words stick in my throat. The moment is passing and I freeze. But I see something in him – the perfection and holiness that I so desperately need and desire. In my shame I drop to my knees, and there I see it – the hem of his robe. With all my strength I reach for it. My hand trembling, time seems to stand still. But it is just a robe, nothing special. The fabric slips from between my fingers.

But then I feel it – a warmth in my belly like no other. The spark of hope becomes a fire within me and I know. I just know.

So does he. He stops and looks around. He knows what has been kindled in my heart. Fear rises within me – will he punish or want me to pay? Somehow I know my healing won’t be complete until I see him face to face. I take a deep breath and stand my ground. Finally the words flow. “Lord, I touched you. This is my dirtiness and shame.”

“And this I have taken away,” he says. “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

I run home, bathe, and remove the dirty rags that have so long been part of who I am. I no longer need them. And in removing them I realise the incredible release I have been given. I am free – free to know friendship, love, welcome. Free to worship. My shame has been taken away and replaced with radiant beauty. Just one encounter with him, and I am transformed. Life begins. Where will it take me?

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