Call Him (me) Here!

Mark 10:46-52 – The 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time – for Sunday, October 28, 2012

“…Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47)

Sight.

Sound.

Touch.

Smell.

Taste.

The cursor flashes on the monitor. In the background the computer softly hums, like traffic noise at a great distance. My fingers tap the cool, solid uniformity of the plastic keyboard, shaping words into sentences. This foolish act of creation is suspended when I grasp the mug of coffee. Before sipping, I inhale the aroma of Peet’s French roast. Ahhh…the heady scent of a fresh brew. Next, the taste. Brash and bitter, but tempered because—an indulgence—I added a dash of half-and-half.

I have my early morning commitment:  writing. On most days, I’m settled in my office chair by 4:00am, bright-eyed and bushy-bearded, ready to tackle a first draft or revise the 10th (100th?) draft of a story.

Peet’s coffee is my literary communion and companion. I can’t explain why I relish their French roast while scorning Columbian or Sumatra beans.

Such an odd fellow, with “special” mugs…

I drink from special coffee mugs (the one in the photo is used only when I’m at work on my endlessly revised novel “Ordinary Time”). My desk has a leather coaster from Yosemite’s glorious Ahwahnee Hotel, a decades-old gift from friends. A photo of my wife is nearby, glancing back toward the camera, snapped during our honeymoon. A beehive-shaped kiln-fired pot holds pens and pencils. Grace, then approaching ninety and a member of Wisconsin’s Blanchardville United Methodist Church, presented the sturdy container to me while I was her pastor. She died a year or so later. I keep nail clippers in a ceramic dish, always close, because as a kid I acquired the nasty habit of chewing nails. Isn’t it awful how some habits haunt you even after so-called maturity? But if the clippers are close, I’ll reach for them to trim my nails instead of random, destructive nibbling. Sad, eh?

Rituals, habits, self-doubt, persistence and procrastination define me.

Tokens, mementos, tools and photos create the nest where I write.

I am vividly aware, in the dark silence of a predawn morning, where it seems “nothing” is going on, that my peculiar little world includes and invites every sense I possess . . .

Sight. Sound. Touch. Smell. Taste.

And because during these early hours I include time for prayer to a Creator I cannot “see” and for creating stories out of “thin air,” maybe I also welcome a sixth sense.

So let’s say six senses. All operating. All present.

And yet on some mornings I am “blind” to every precious thing and person, every memory and goal. How can that be?

I read about a fellow in the Bible named Bartimaeus. He’s blind. But he’s certainly not dumb . . . Bartimaeus can create sound with the best of them. And so, when the sightless beggar hears the crowd clamor about Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth, he shouts . . .

“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!!”

Read the story for yourself. Or don’t. If you read it, you won’t be surprised some in the crowd warned Bartimaeus to shut up. Who likes a squeaky wheel? If you read it, you’ll admire the beggar’s courage, his willingness to seek sight. Good for him! We categorize the Gospel event as a miracle:  Jesus cured Bartimaeus (“Immediately he regained his sight…” Mark 10:52)

Preach it, read it, interpret it in all the ways you wish: about a grumbling crowd, a squeaky wheel, courage and miracle. Is it metaphorical? Literal? All views are true enough!

Or, listen to this . . . Cat Stevens’ rousing, bittersweet 1970 song* “Moonshadow.”** Cat Stevens, since 1977 a Muslim named Yusuf Islam, wrote these words:

And if I ever lose my hands, lose my plough, lose my land,
Oh if I ever lose my hands, Oh if . . . I won’t have to work no more.
And if I ever lose my eyes, if my colours all run dry,
Yes if I ever lose my eyes, Oh if . . . I won’t have to cry no more.

I wonder, as I read about blind Bartimaeus longing for sight or listen to blunt, hopeful lyrics about transforming obstacles into opportunities, how much time, in my waking hours, do I ignore the world around me? What don’t I see, taste, smell, hear and feel?

Why is it difficult to truly pay attention to what a friend says? How come the people I love the most are the ones taken for granted?

Do I spend too much time acting like those in the crowd—shut up, Bartimaeus!—and hardly any time like Jesus, who said, “Call him here.”

Every day dawns a miracle. Help me—with all five or six or more or less senses—to be here!

 

*And perhaps no one who reads this will connect to or relate with Stevens’ “ancient” music. But many of his songs, and certainly this one, formed a joyful, insightful soundtrack for my teens and twenties. And nowadays, whenever I listen, I am still touched by Stevens’ creativity….

**Full lyrics of “Moonshadow”

Oh, I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow
Leapin and hoppin’ on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow

And if I ever lose my hands, lose my plough, lose my land,
Oh if I ever lose my hands, Oh if…. I won’t have to work no more.
And if I ever lose my eyes, if my colours all run dry,
Yes if I ever lose my eyes, Oh if…. I won’t have to cry no more.

Oh I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow
Leapin’ and hoppin’ on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow

And if I ever lose my legs, I won’t moan, and I won’t beg,
Yes if I ever lose my legs, Oh if…. I won’t have to walk no more.
And if I ever lose my mouth, all my teeth, north and south,
Yes if I ever lose my mouth, Oh if…. I won’t have to talk…

Oh I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow
Leapin’ and hoppin’ on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow

Did it take long to find me? I asked the faithful light.
Did it take long to find me? And are you gonna stay the night?

Oh I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow
Leapin’ and hoppin’ on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow…

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4 Comments

  1. Very thought provoking. I do so enjoy how you look at life differently abled by the work that you do. Moonshadow and Cat Stevens are some of my favorite music. Dates me I guess. Thank you very much for your insight into the blind fit into the crowd. Since I’m in a wheelchair and have been for several years, I think of many things for a differently abled perspective. We are not disabled, we do things differently. Wheels don’t stop me from doing most things, and I tend to the ol’ Bartimaeus was no different than I. You do make me think out of my comfort zone almost every week. And for that I am grateful.

    1. Nancy…

      As always, I am grateful for your comments. On my best days of writing, I also take myself out of a “comfort zone.”

      Take care!!

  2. Hi Larry, I don’t know why I haven’t found your blog before, but did now through Text This Week. I’m a colleague in the same Annual Conference! You totally got me with your Peet’s French Roast and special mugs. I am right there with you. Good stuff, that Peet’s French Roast. Nectar of the Gods, I think, or at least a jump start on the morning.

    Thanks for your thoughtful ponderings on Bartimeaus as I wonder how to approach the sermon this week. See you at Annual Conference somewhere in the crowd.
    Blessings,
    Linda

    1. But now you’ve found it! Hey, Linda, thanks for you comments. If anything I write helps with a sermon, well that’s almost as nice a hot mug of Peet’s!

      It’s been a few years since I’ve roamed around Annual Conference . . . I mostly keep busy with my hospice work. Take care!!

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