A reflection in my daily prayer book on Mark 1:18 (“Then they abandoned their nets and followed him,”) pointed out how Jesus called some people to leave everything behind and follow him. But at other times, Jesus turns people away, telling them instead to stay where they are and show themselves to the priests (Mark 1:44).
As I pondered these scriptures and Jesus’ invitations, the words from Should I Stay or Should I Go? by The Clash popped into my mind and cycled there all day.
The invitation of Mark 1:18 has always resonated with me—that idea of dropping everything and following Jesus somewhere else. If I put pushpins on a map and tied a string to indicate dates and places I have lived, it would look like this:
Ok, maybe not that bad, but my resume was once described as a “patchwork quilt.” I took it as a compliment (because I love patchwork quilts) but I am not sure the interviewer meant it that way. Going has been my default setting.
The more I reflected on Mark 1:44, I realized two things:
One is that for most of my life, I found it easier to abandon my nets and leave, rather than risk staying and showing that I had been healed. I didn’t trust my own healing (I’d been known to backslide) nor those to whom I might have said, “Look, I am better.” After people had seen me at my worst, how could they believe I had been healed and was changed?
The second is that I didn’t see a way to show my healing—no council of priests who would check out my story and declare me “clean.” Most of the people Jesus healed showed a marked, physical difference—leprosy and then no leprosy; mute and then speaking; blind and then seeing, etc.
The woman who touched Jesus’ hem and her bleeding stopped (Mark 5:29) is one story where the malady was unseen but even she was probably physically different after she was healed.
All of this led me to reflect on my own healing, which was not a one-and-done event but has been a life-long journey. The healing Jesus performed on me wasn’t physical; I still look pretty much as I always have (except now with gray hair and wrinkles). The healing in me is internal, a healing of my heart, mind and soul. So how do I show that healing?
Someone recently suggested that I could become a “survivor speaker” with our local domestic abuse shelter and tell my story of overcoming the trauma of sexual assault.
I signed up.
I want to share the good news that healing from trauma is possible; that life can be good; and that no matter the difficulties/abuse/trauma one has endured, there is still hope of healing. I am fortunate to have a wonderful support system, people who believe in my healing, and I am deeply grateful.
After years of going, I am now staying and showing myself.