Every single week, I show up to counseling. And I practice being brave. I practice courage.
It was a sunny day and I was outside playing with the two little boys I nanny every afternoon. While getting the dump trucks and fire trucks from their bin in the shed, the boys discovered a spider web bigger than their heads, with a spider in the dead center. They were fascinated, and their fingers instantly reached out to touch the spider. I quickly pulled them back and told them "Just use your eyes! Look, but don't touch."
I didn’t think much of it—I was protecting them, keeping them safe from the potential harm that could have come their way if they had gotten too close.
Later that week, that moment came back to me as I was flipping through the Gospels. I realized something about Jesus as I scanned over those chapters and books. He touched a lot.
The man with leprosy came before him, asking to be made clean. Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him and his leprosy was cleansed. (Matthew 8:2-3)
Peter's mother-in-law was sick with a fever. Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. (Matthew 8:14-15)
The daughter of a ruler was dead in bed. Jesus took her by the hand, spoke to her, and she got up at once. (Luke 8:53-55)
Two blind men followed Jesus, crying that he would have mercy on them. He touched their eyes and healed them because of their faith. (Matthew 9:27-29)
The stories continue throughout the Gospels- Jesus moving, speaking, touching and healing person after person.
I think about those people in our world today. They are still just as real as they were when Jesus was here. There are people on street corners holding ragged signs that announce their circumstances to passersby-- homeless, broke, hungry, no job, down on their luck. There are people living under underpasses and bridges, surrounded by trash and broken bottles, with just a slab of concrete for a bed. There are still blind, sick, lonely, hurting, deaf and dying people all around me.
I look, but I don't touch.
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In January, I moved into my very own apartment. I loaded up my family's van with all of my bedroom furniture, bunches of clothes on jumbled hangers, boxes and boxes of books and knick knacks and everything I had accumulated in my 21 years of life. This was monumental. I finally had my own place. My own rent. My own bills. The next chapter of my life was beginning. I was an adult! A real one!
We lugged everything up the stairs and into my new little place and it began to look like my own space. I arranged the pieces of furniture I had in the best possible configuration, I hung art on the walls and tried to make it look as cute and cozy as I could. I've lived there for 9 months now, and something struck me as I was cleaning this weekend.
This is home, but it's temporary. My lease will end, my time here will be over. I'll move out and only a few holes in the walls from once-hanging frames and shelves will prove I had been there. There won't even be colored walls to blanket with white again-- I knew I wouldn't live there long enough to make painting worth it.
I lived among white walls, just waiting for the next place.
This past week, I sat in a circle of the best people I know in the bright and open concourse area of my church. I listened as the newest class of 10-month interns was introduced to the staff, fidgeted awkwardly as I, too, was introduced in my temporary role here. I heard our pastor speak to the five of us. We want you to make your mark here. We want you to make an impact. We want you to put your stamp on this place.
This, like my apartment, is temporary. But this time, I don't want to leave the walls white.
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