2. “No man is an island” – John Donne
“Then they came into Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd,were leaving the city, a blind man Bartimaeus (that is, the son of Timaeus), was sitting at the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more. “Son of David, have mercy on me”. Jesus stopped and said “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man. “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”
Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“Go,” said Jesus, “Your faith has healed you.”Mark 11 v 46-52
What would he say? What could he do? How would they cope – with the mortgage – with his job – or lack of it? How would they cope with everything?
A deep frown settled Doug’s face as he recovered his key and opened the door. Fiona had been cooking. He could tell from the mouthwatering aroma coming from the kitchen. Great if you have an appetite. Doug didn’t. he hung his coat on the peg, doffed his shoes and prepared to face his wife with the news.
The kettle was on. Tea was brewing. Looking at the set muscles in Doug’s face, Fiona quietly prepared herself for what clearly was bad news.
“What’s up, Sweetheart? Cummon, have a cuppa and tell me what is wrong.”
“Optician – I’ve been to the optician. …. I new my eyes were getting worse but …..”
Doug took a sip from the steaming mug.
“Fi, it’s bad news. he says,- he told me, that I have …I’ve been diagnosed with macular degeneration … the bad kind. It’s only a matter of time …and I’ll not be able to see.”
” O sweetheart that’s awful news… but we’ll cope. Look when… no …. if your job goes then we can still cope. Look … the kids are growing up now. They’re all at college. I can increase my hours at work – if and we can always downsize if we need to. We will support you….”
“Oh Fi you’re so good to me. How can I hold on to my job? I’m an engineer. I need my eyes. But what about the modelling … my hobby? I need my eyes. I won’t be able to drive. I can’t ask you to be my taxi all the time. Every part of the world I have built for myself … it’s falling apart. There’s no hope for me now…”
Every time he thought about the situation Doug thought of himself as a failure. He was a burden to his family. He would no longer be able to provide for them. There would be so many things that he would not be able to do. He’d be reliant on everyone else. He wan’t old. Not yet. He was not ready for this. He didn’t want to get old before his time. That’s what he believed was happening. He became bad tempered and depressed, complaining at every opportunity. He made life miserable for both himself and his family. Doug felt as if he was standing at the edge of a cliff top, staring into a dark stormy sea of despair. How long would it be before he fell….? Doug had already lost sight in one eye – and the other eye was now beginning to fail too. He’d lost his job now. He could no longer drive. His hobby no longer gave him any pleasure. It was time to decide whether to give it up completely. He couldn’t work on his models. They were simply sitting on a shelf gathering dust. No pleasure in that.
Fiona and the children, despite his bad humour and his negative outlook had rallied round and supported him in any way they could. In spite ofthe fact that his eyesight was deteriorating even further, he’d stepped back a little way from the stroming sea of despair.
Fiona was working full time now. The children were completing college, looking for jobs and preparing to leave the family home. If they could downsize now they would be able to manage financially. There were practical problems to overcome too. he’d been in contact with the RNIB and Beacon, both institutions for the blind. Not only had they helped him to cope with moving around and remaining independent as far as possible, they had also invited him to volunteer by offering help and advice to others who found themselves in a similar position. So many unexpected opportunities had come his way. They helped Doug to become more positive and happier about his situation.
Obviously Doug would never have chosen to become blind. However his experiences had helped him to look for the positive things in life. He learned that he was not the only one. There were others who struggled with many types of problems, and somehow there was a learning process which came through experience. He learned that to be totally independent did not open your eyes to the people in life who opened their hearts no only to those they loved, but also to the unlovable. He now had the humility to recognise his need for other people, not only for physical help but the emotional help he needed to adapt to his new style of living. Through his impending blindness he learned humility, a sense of community, .and that however difficult your situation there can always be hope.
Jesus can heal blindness. Yes, of course He can. we read that at the beginning of this passage. But how many ways are there that we cannot see? There are so may ways that we blind ourselves to the hope and the love we find in our every day lives.
we come to you
because we are blind,
because we are helpless
and because we feel alone.
We come to you asking you to heal us,
to open our eyes
to your love.
Open our eyes
to the love
which we find among one another,
which is all around us.
Open our eyes to the hope we find in your eyes,
in your touch and in your love.
Lord Jesus we are blind.
we come to asking
that you will heal us
from our pride,
from our selfishness,
from our greed
and our despair
when things do not go our way.
Heal us we pray.
however we are,
whoever we are
come to you to be filled with your love.
In your hope may we live,