A Simple Healing 

We could all use some healing these days. We live in a violent world where war and crime take millions of lives each year. Abortion claims millions more. It seems no matter you look, people are suffering. Families fall apart and children’s hearts are broken. Of course, this world has always been a painful place. Jesus knew that. He saw and felt the suffering of each one of us as He lived as a man. He witnessed disease, political oppression, poverty and religious strife. His ministry of love drew Him to the people on society’s fringes: lepers, harlots, tax collectors, religious nuts, people possessed by demons and other outliers of many descriptions. In other words, you and me.  

When we look at those healing moments in the life of Jesus, it’s striking to me how simple they are. Televangelists and other “healers” these days often create a lot of dramatic theater in their services. There’s screaming and hollering and crying with folks collapsing onto the floor. Jesus healed quietly, usually with just a touch or a couple of words. He didn’t heal anyone to draw attention to Himself. His healing affirmed and celebrated the dignity of the one He was healing. It was an encounter, and not a spectacle. We all know what it feels like when someone really sees us for who we are and accepts us just as we are. That moment can be so very healing. And what seems true in these hectic days is that we rarely experience these moments in our lives.  

In the last few weeks, there’s been much talk and anticipation about the release of a new novel by Harper Lee. Her first work, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” has in it a wonderfully simple healing encounter. The town outcast, Boo Radley, is the subject of much derision and fear. Never seen, he lives in a spooky rundown house at the end of the street. As the story unfolds, it is this young man who heroically saves the lives of the two children central to the novel. Later, after the assault is thwarted by Mr. Radley, the details of the attack emerge and we see the rescued girl as she notices someone standing in the shadows behind her brother’s bedroom door. The sheriff and her father are nearby, discussing what has happened. Scout realizes who is standing in the shadow. She sees the town outcast for the first time. She sees him for who he really is—not a monster at all, but a painfully shy and reticent young man who risked his life to save her and her brother from harm. In just a few moments, she affirms his dignity and reaches out to him in appreciation and healing with two simple words. “Hey, Boo.”  

Two words that hold within them so much. Two words that were able to break down years of barriers and layers of misunderstanding. How many people around us are in the shadows, unseen, unrecognized, unappreciated. Maybe it’s someone like Boo. The neighbor no one ever sees outside, or the aunt or cousin we never see or speak to anymore. Perhaps it’s someone we may see everyday, but have never really encountered or spoken with—the mailman, the clerk at the convenience store, the teller at the bank, or the server at the restaurant. So many people that pass through our lives each day may be starving for someone to really see them and to affirm them as human beings created in the image and likeness of God.  

Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead. He rescued the outcasts and drew them back into the life of the community. His outreach recognized that loneliness can kill just as certainly as any disease of the body. Jesus met people where they were in life and lifted them up. We’re called to do the same. Sharing the Good News of the Gospel means seeking out the lost sheep, the forgotten lambs. It means recognizing and valuing the dignity and worth of every person in our lives. To do that, we have to be aware, to make eye contact, to smile, and to be kind. We have to take the risk of reaching out and maybe being rejected. It’s a small price to pay out of the abundance of grace we’ve been given to share with others. Sometimes we forget that we’re all on this journey together and that we need to be kind and loving with one another. That’s how we can change the world.  

The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.” 

              —Blessed Mother Teresa  


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Uncle Davin
    Jul 19, 2015 @ 23:00:07

    There are so many wonderful lessons we can learn from that motion picture; thank you for the fresh take on a precious scene.


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