Another exercise from the weekend. I really enjoyed this one, it was a stretch of the imagination. I will have to do it again!
My missing daughter came home today, she looked shell-shocked. She went to her room, took all her things down to the river and began to wash them. I didn’t know where she came from, she was gone before I got up – which in itself was very unusual.
I followed her down to the river, “Where have you been?” I asked, trying to keep the accusatory tone out of my voice.
Her head turned towards me and she blinked slowly, like she was waking from a dream. “I went to see the teacher, Ima. He…” she stopped here, looked down at her hands through the water, and finished in a whisper, “I am healed.”
I had watched my daughter go from village to village, seeking out anyone who could help her; this wasn’t a new thing. I had to bite down the frustration that threatened to come spilling out; the tears that wanted to choke me as I thought about the times she would return, her strength leached out of her, the sickness making her pale as a ghost.
Twelve years I watched her sink deeper and deeper into despair, branded as unclean by everyone – alone. Twelve years of pleading with her to stop wasting her money on phony healers. Yet there she stood, telling me that she was healed, and all I could think of was, here we go yet again.
I braced myself and asked the question, “When you say you were healed, what do you mean?”
“Ima, I went to the teacher, I know I shouldn’t have but I felt like I had no choice.” her story came out in a rush, the washing momentarily forgotten.
“This was my last chance, it was crowded but I didn’t … no,” she stopped herself, reaching a conclusion in her mind; with the nod of her head and furrowed brows she continued, “I couldn’t care, I had to reach him. He healed people, and he didn’t ask for money in return. I had to try.”
My daughter was besides herself with excitement now, I found that I had to sit down, I beckoned to her to continue.
“I was by the sea and I overheard some men talking about how he spoke to the storm and it obeyed. They also said something about a pig incident, but didn’t really understand.
“I went into the crowd thinking, if he healed so many and even calmed a storm, what about me? Maybe, just maybe if I could touch him, just the hem of his cloak, then I would be healed.”
I couldn’t believe my ears, she risked others and herself on a whim? My face must have reflected my feelings because she continued with some haste.
“I reached him and touched his cloak and I immediately felt a rushing inside, from my head to my toes. It was as though a thousand tiny ants were biting me, all over, that is, if an ant’s bite could be pleasant. I felt stronger than I did in ages! But then he turned around and he asked, ‘Who touched me?’ and I became afraid.”
“You touched him?” I gasped, the words barely a whisper, and then I registered that she must have touched many people to get to him.
“No ima, or at least I don’t know how he knew, but I only touched his hem. Yet, it felt like he was looking straight at me.”
“But you felt, good?”
“Yes, I felt stronger than ever. And look at my hands” she stuck them out, palms up for me to see the pink in her palms. I noticed the flush in her cheeks, a rosiness that I have missed.
“I was scared. I thought that since I had practically broken the law to get to him that he would condemn me, but instead he asked me about myself. He wanted to know my story and he listened, I felt so loved – it was a wonderful feeling. Then he took me by the hand, helping me up he said, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you.’ and he let me go.”
She was crying at this point, and I realized, so was I. I looked at her, my heart went out to her, this daughter of mine who had to live in isolation for so many years. And I reached out and I drew her towards me, pulling her into a hug.
We sat there for a while, my child and I, until her father and brothers came home. She told them the story about what happened, and one by one they hugged her too.
I haven’t had a moment to myself since! The neighbours came over to hear her story and I haven’t had a chance to breathe, but that is no problem because my daughter is healed; after all these year, she is free. Now I just need to go find that Jesus and thank him myself.