Skip to main content

We are all lepers

Lepers of Molokai
If you know the life of St. Francis of Assisi, you can skip this first part. If you don't, he was a young man of what appeared to be joy: parties, lots of friends, women, wine and song: the 12th century version of a playboy.

He wanted something more, though. Despite all the fun, he knew he was missing something. He though going to war was the answer - he'd be a hero. That didn't work out well.

He was used to a life of luxury and fun. The people he knew were the "beautiful people" - dressed in fine cloths and had all the advantages.

Francis, in his search for whatever it was that he was missing, took to walking in the countryside near Assisi. That's when he saw the lepers. Oh, he knew about the lepers; everyone did. They were committed to staying outside the city walls, left to their grotesque disease, without any means of support - medical, financial, emotional. They were disgusting. Francis was rightly repelled.

But there was something about them...

One day, Francis came face to face with a leper. Imagine being in a dark alley, in a foreign place, faced by a huge man with a knife. That's the fear that Francis felt. More than than that, he was horrified, disgusted.

And then, Francis (for reasons that only God knows) embraced and kissed the leper. From then on, Francis' life took on a new tone - one that heard the music of God's voice.

On my way to work this morning, I saw a man waiting for the light to change so he could cross the street. He became impatient, and starting yelling and flailing his arms - as if he could make the lights change at this will. Outwardly, the man looked fine, but he is a leper.

I had to take my Dark-Haired Daughter in for her monthly blood draw this morning. She has to do this because of a medication she takes for bipolar disorder. She's a leper.

Last night, at my husband's soccer game, the father of one of his players showed up and caused a disturbance. That man too has bipolar disorder, and isn't taking care of himself. He's a leper.

One of my friends is studying nursing. She was working in the ER when a drunk driver was brought in and she had to care for him. She learned he had killed two people in a car accident, one of whom was a friend of hers. She did not want to care for this man - she wanted nothing more than for him to die. They are both lepers.

We are all lepers. There is something in all of us that repels, makes us disfigured from the image that God has for us, that makes us outcasts in His Kingdom. We choose things that make us ugly: anger, lust, alcohol, control, power, selfishness.

Unlike a person with leprosy, however, we can change. We can look at ourselves honestly and pray for the strength to become clean. We can see whatever it is that Francis saw in that leper and embrace it, draw strength from it, acknowledge it, and know that God loves us in our imperfections, but wants so much more for us.

Yes, we are all lepers, in need of aid, and God offers it to us in His Son. We are all lepers.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Trauma Mama

Dear Husband and I both enjoy certain medical shows, such as "ER" and "Code Black." ("St. Elsewhere" was another fave!) These shows revolve around trauma: humans who'd been ambushed by life: a car accident, a fire, and abuse, as examples.

More often than not, these shows also highlight the trauma the doctors and nurses needed to deal with. Having a patient die is always offensive to a doctor: they are charged with saving lives and losing one is the ultimate failure. Nurses spend more time with patients, and can forge strong bonds with people that may be in their lives for just a few days.

But trauma doesn't always look like a bloody body being wheeled into an emergency room, or a house surrounded by fire trucks and police cars. Trauma comes in many forms.

According to one website, trauma can look like surgery. It can look like moving. Trauma can be losing a beloved spouse or more horrifying, a child. Trauma can also be chronic pain, loneliness, m…

Be Brave

A few years ago, it came to my attention that a young family member was struggling with anxiety and depression. I was able to share with her a bit of my own struggles, and let her know she wasn't alone.

A few weeks after our talk, I saw the movie, "Brave." It struck me that the young protagonist, Merida, modeled a great quality. She was indeed brave.

Being brave is not about recklessness. It is not about confidence. It's not about being foolish, or looking for glory in the eyes of others.

Bravery is about doing what is right, even when you are a quivering mess. It's about knowing that things may not turn out the way you expected, but forging ahead anyway. Being brave is standing by the hospital bed while a loved one is dying, and all you really want to do is turn back time. Bravery is standing up to a bully, when your legs are screaming for you to run. Brave is doing what needs to be done even when you're scared and tired and feeling helpless and hopeless.

I …