The sermon today was on the ten lepers whom Jesus healed and the one of them who returned to say, “Thanks.” As I thought about the story, I was struck by how much time we who are accustomed to comfort and privilege spend trying to explain pain and suffering, as though they were things other than life. It seems to me When Bad Things Happen to Good People would not be a best seller in Darfur. Ginger quoted Nouwen today: “Wounds are openings for new vision.”
I guess we should remember Jesus healed them from afar –
they became “clean” as they walked along the way.
After years of being told that they weren’t worth one thin dinar,
perhaps they felt there was nothing left to say.
But one came back to Jesus and sort of shattered the illusion
that the down and out somehow deserve their lot,
and shot down, of course, our own sort of logical conclusion
that the privileged deserve all that we’ve got.
We talk about the nine as if we’d have been the one
aware enough to relish a return;
that’s you and me however, sinking with the setting sun –
that grace is gift is hard for us to learn.
The greatest miracle of attitude
is being healed of our ingratitude.
Even after hearing the sermon, I found my self ungrateful this very same afternoon. After having lunch with friends that I have not seen in a couple of months, I was thinking that letting go of some friendships was a lot less painful than facing the changing dynamics of relationship that goes along with life changes…feeling sad about the changes rather then grateful for friends who still want to work on their friendship with me even when I withdraw because it’s easier. Thank you, God, for the gift of friends who are persistent, and for Ginger and Leigh and finally, at the end of the day, Milton, for reminding me.
Always love your posts and sonnets, Milton. Tiny point — the book is “When” Bad Things Happen to Good People. I notice this because I really wanted it to be “Why” — and even while reading it, I looked for it to be “Why”. It has been important for me to remember that the title is “When”. That small word changes everything and reminds me to focus on the gratitude, rather than search for the reason. Thanks, Milton!
Thanks, Alice. Always happy for a friendly editor.