A little context: I attend (or attempt to attend, when I can manage to stop having panic attacks and dissociating long enough) a Jesuit parish. One of our prayer techniques involves imaginative prayer in which one reads a Gospel passage and then imagines being there in person. For me, the experience is always vivid and often intense.
Last night at our Soup and Spirituality, the passage was Mark’s narrative of the healing of blind Bartimaeus, a desperate man–and, oh, do I ever know desperation. So after I watched Jesus heal this man, I pushed through the crowd and began to scream. “Where have you been all my life, Jesus? Where were you when I was born a cripple? Where were you when the doctor broke my body and my spirit? Where? Did you look on, helpless? Were you too busy? WHERE WERE YOU!” He did not answer.
The meeting ended. I left as quickly as graciously possible. Where was He? Where had He been all my life? No more time to seek. I had a wife to pick up from work, a car to fill up with gas, life to live whether or not Jesus cares.
Bedtime came and restful sleep. The sun still slept beneath the horizon when I woke and padded into the kitchen for a glass of water. I took my vitamins, settled onto the sofa with a book. Glanced at the Bible on the coffee table.
A fleeting thought of Jesus brushed against my mind and with it the reality of the crucifixion. Crucifixion. Not in place of me. No–suffering still exists. My suffering still takes place. But for me. An example. Grace. A gift nearly impossible to unwrap but still given. And given. All at once and over and over again through the years. Given as a promise. Given as an example. Given. Because, in His words, “Lo, I am with you always.” And that is enough–even on all those days, through all the blackest nights when it doesn’t make it better. It is still enough.