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Mercy and Grace

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog article just to have something ready in case writer’s block happened one week.

I wrote: “I think Jesus valued privacy. When he healed someone he frequently told them not to say anything to anyone.”

Then I went to a workshop. We happened to explore some of those stories where Jesus healed someone and told them not to tell anyone. But the conversation led to the fact that these people who had been ill and shunned and ignored for most of their lives had never had a normal life. Jesus wasn’t telling them to hide the truth from people, he was encouraging them to go and enjoy a normal life for the first time, a life among people.

In one morning my understanding turned around. Telling people not to talk wasn’t an act of privacy or secrecy, it was an act of mercy and grace for the person who had been healed.

This all came at the end of a trying week. The previous Saturday my VW Rabbit had a confrontation with a deer. (Thumper vs. Bambi, Thumper won.)

There were some stressful days in northern Massachusetts trying to assess if the car would actually get us home. It did.

So a week later I was in Dave’s car on my way to the workshop when a merging truck and rain-slick road had me spinning across four lanes of I-95. Only the front bumper and my nerves were damaged.

So I was glad to get to the workshop and just sit and listen. And hear that Jesus wants us to have normal lives.

Because at the same time all of this was happening I was following the very abnormal life of my cousin’s daughter.

Becca hasn’t had a normal life. She’s 28 years old. She had already had three liver transplants, and at the time she was waiting to find out if she would be approved for a fourth transplant.

My cousin Mollie has used Facebook to share these experiences with us. She has shared with us the frustrations of getting health insurance coverage. She has shared thanks for the doctors who have done everything they can to relieve pain and get bodily functions working again. She has shared reflections on her own “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.” She has shared with us the spiritual symbolism of geese, and the center-focus beauty of labyrinths. She has shared with us her musical prayers through her piano playing. She is funny and sarcastic and pensive and spiritual and loving.

But she and Becca have not been living a normal life.

Becca got her fourth liver transplant. Somewhere a family is grieving the loss of loved one. But in Rochester the family is celebrating that Becca will have another chance at a normal life.

Many among us have lives that are challenging, or we have periods of time that leave us challenged, and ill, and stressed, and concerned.

And now I can see and understand that Jesus invites us to have faith, to be healed, and to enjoy a life that may have otherwise eluded us.

- Ann Warner

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