Bartimaeus, blindness, courage, deaf, disability, inner senses, risk taking, seeing, The Sophia Center for Spirituality
I can’t imagine – on a beautiful, sunny, spring day like today – sitting here as I am and not being able to see the scene that greets me outside my window. That was my thought upon reading the story of blind Bartimaeus in this morning’s gospel. (MK 10: 46-52) Fast upon that reflection, however, came the memory of Dancing With the Stars whose winner this season was a profoundly deaf man who was able to keep perfect time in the dances without even sensing the vibration of the music. How was that possible? I can only surmise that the brilliance of his partner and some inner coherence in their energy kept him “in sync” not only with Peta but with the music he could not hear as we hearing people do. It was extraordinary. And then I remember Jacques Lusseyran, the blind leader in the French Resistance during World War II. Blinded at the age of eight years, Lusseyran accessed some inner sense that allowed him to work for years undetected because of his physical “disability” and to survive, as few did, the horrors of a concentration camp while giving hope to hundreds of other prisoners. How did he do that? In his book, And There Was Light, Lusseyran speaks of the inner light that guided his perception and his motivation each day. Rather than feeling sorry for himself and spending his life lamenting what he did not have, he capitalized on his inner senses for guidance and the ability to live a life of meaning.
I am grateful every day for the ability to see and to hear (the Canada geese just flew by my window) but considering the above examples I know that there are also deeper ways of perception and it behooves me to continue to sharpen my inner senses. Bartimaeus had been blind from birth. I wonder if his statement: “I want to see” came simply from having heard from others that Jesus was a healer. When Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” he didn’t say, “Heal my blindness!” although that was clearly what he was hoping for. I just wonder if the question demanded some deep determination on the part of the recipient – a participation in the healing rather than leaving all the work of it to the healer. His answer seems to admit of more possibilities than the physical healing it implies.
So the questions for me this morning are the following: Where does my blindness lie? Do I really want to see? What am I willing to do, to give up perhaps, in order to see in a deeper way? What will that cost? Am I equal to the task? Can I rely on God to be with me as healer in the process? It must have taken courage for Nyle DiMarco to say yes to Dancing with the Stars, for Jacques Lusseyran to step back into life as a blinded child and each day after, for Bartimaeus to put his faith in Jesus as healer. Courage is necessary sometimes in what seem the smallest endeavors as well as the monumental, life-changing possibilities. What am I willing to risk?