There’s something engaging about bodies of water. Vacations during my childhood were spent at the beach by the Atlantic Ocean – the most delightful week of the year. As an adult living in upstate New York, I have come to appreciate lakes; it took awhile for someone used to the expanse of the ocean with the smell, taste and buoyancy of salt. Now I cherish the loveliness and calm of “the Finger Lakes” so named because from the sky they actually look like fingers of a human hand. The energies are different: the ocean majestic, inspiring awe, and the lakes a call to reflection and peace.
When Jesus made one of his many (it seems) crossings of the Sea of Galilee and encountered a crowd on the other side, Mark says he stayed close to the sea. I had never noticed that line before and it made me think he was drawing energy from the water. Maybe he was just assuring a quick exit in case the crowd got too close or if he said something that was too inflammatory, but I’d rather think he was preparing for the two healings that frame the rest of the reading (MK 5:21-43). Both of these incidents lead to considerations of physical well-being. After he healed the daughter of Jairus with a touch of her hand and a word (Talitha koum = Little girl, arise) he told the family to give her something to eat, something that would restore her body to wellness. The other healing – of the woman with the 12-year hemorrhaging distress – was felt both in her body and by Jesus as she touched his cloak. He knew that “power had gone out from him” while she “felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.” That energy exchange could have been a private moment between the two of them but Jesus wanted to make the point that her faith was part of the equation as well as his touch. Nevertheless, this entire text reminds me that body awareness is a necessary third to mind and spirit. My body can give me messages that alert me to danger, to excessive fatigue, to impending joy with the appearance of a loved one…Awareness of my breath can calm anxiety, allow me to climb a flight of stairs or move to deep meditation…
Today I will give thanks for my body, with all its gifts and limitations, as well as for the energy that fuels it and allows me to welcome energy coming my way for good.