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I am Eric’s Wife. I am also mother to two teenagers on the very cusp of adulthood, the founding director of Scripture from the Heart, an avid world watcher, bold and insecure at once. I serve a merciful God and I love a guy who makes my knees weak. This is where I write about it all.  Thank you for reading!

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Born Blind

March 27, 2018

I was once very sick and now I am not.  I am writing because the story must be told.

Before I tell my whole story, I want you to join me for someone else’s.  It is one very dear to me, very old, and sure to tell better than I can why telling such a story can be just as important as it is daunting.


Born blind.  His whole life was a shrug whose only response was, “Born blind.”  Can he read?  Born blind.  Can he work?  Have a family?  Build a house?  Nope.  Born blind.  He never saw the faces, of course, but he keenly felt their helpless shrugs.  I don’t know his name, not that it matters.  Let’s just call him “Born Blind” to keep things tidy.

What made Born Blind born blind?  Nobody knows.  Maybe his mother did something while she was pregnant.  Or maybe his father brought some genetic curse on his head.  Sin?  Possibly.  Everyone sins, but blindness is such a burden that a person can’t help but wonder if it is an earned one.

In his youth he memorized by feel the way to the city gates, the temple gates, the market, and back home again.  Being Born Blind means you die blind and the sooner you get over that fact the sooner you can get to the right street corners to bring in whatever income being Born Blind provides.

Begging for scraps; he was like a shrub or a random bit of pottery in the way, nothing remarkable worth noticing and certainly not a man you’d think to hand the microphone to if you needed to hear some big truth.

And then one day a passerby handed Born Blind a microphone.

As all massively life changing events have a way of starting unannounced, his was an unremarkable morning.  228 steps from his door to the temple gates, pausing three steps for a goat and two more for a small child in the way.  He unrolled his mat, slid his hand along the wall to the ground and then laid out the mat and sat down.  He had a clink in his cup before he was even fully settled.  “Ah,” he thought, “a Sabbath crowd.  It will be a good day to sit in front of the temple.”

Sitting beside a wall, as he had done his whole life, offers few options for any kind of stimulation.  Lots of sitting and thinking.  Thinking and sitting.  Sometimes he got to hear rabbis walk by, talking deep truths of his old religion and he leaned in to hear what they might say.  Other times, he got to hear lovers fighting, making up, children crying, laughing; he had pretty much overheard every kind of imaginable conversation and scenario.  He was not a scholar in the classical sense, but an observer and a thinker.

On this Sabbath day he heard a crowd of many voices which seemed to be in an argument with a voice of one.  It was too far away to make out entire sentences, but, from what he gathered, the man was some sort of street preacher.

After a moment of the man talking, in a far off, muffled voice, a chorus of the crowd could be heard yelling back to him, “No!!  We are Abraham’s children!  We have never been slaves!!”

Oh, this is rich.  “Never been slaves?”  Israel?  Like, ever, or just today?  Whoever this man was, he had poked the hornet’s nest so severely that they lost their ever loving minds and tossed all knowledge of Jewish history aside.   Are they blind!?  Ha ha.  Blind.

Born Blind tapped the nearest gawker with his walking stick and asked, “What did that man say?”

“Something about freedom and being set free.  Also, he thinks he is God.”

God.  Right here and walking among us?  And here I am in my regular pants.  He chuckled.  Born Blind had heard it all, but this was a first.

The crowd’s yelling got even more vicious.  It’s rock throwing time.  It was a kind of electrical hum you could hear and you just knew without having to see that rocks are being picked up and aim is being taken.

Born Blind waits for the sound of the first toss.  He had heard it more than a few times in his life and it always sounded the same way.  The sound of a rock being thrown with force and finding its target in flesh is hard to forget.  Born Blind leans away from the crowds at first, but then leans in when the sound is not what he expects.  One by one, he hears rocks thud to the ground.  Can that be right?

How did the man get away?  There was no guard intervention or authority demand to cease.  The fight just ended with what sounded to Born Blind like the street preacher might have just shrugged at the crowd’s blindness and passed on by.  How odd.  How incredibly odd.  What kind of street preacher…?

The street sounds settled back into the normal and expected, as though nobody had been murderous just moments before.  Born Blind sat rigid for a second longer and observed the normalcy before relaxing back in his spot.

And then, a voice spoke up, not so much to him as at him.  “Rabbi?  Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Rigid again.  Did Born Blind just find himself the subject of cultural studies course?  Was this that trouble maker’s crowd now coming over here to poke at the poor blind man?  Born Blind’s thinking that he better get a drachma for his trou…

“Neither did this man sin, nor his parents; but, that the works of God might be revealed in him.  I must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day.  The night is coming, when no one can work.  While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Born Blind did not hear anything the man said beyond, “Neither did this man sin, nor his parents…”  The rest of it was a slowed down and dizzying moment where memories flooded him of every time he asked his mother, “Why am I Born Blind?” and his father, “What use is the life of Born Blind?” and every time he shouldered the weight of people’s shrugs and every time he decided to live anyway and every time he asked God to just let him die.  They all spun around in his head and the answer was finally known.

Born Blind was born blind to reveal the works of God.

As this reality and the sudden awareness that he was, in spite of himself, believing every word this Rabbi said was washing over him, he heard the man spit on the ground and scoop up some dirt and saliva.

He was already thinking about how he was going to have to explain to his parents how he fell for a huckster when things took a turn for the very crazy and the street preacher smeared the spit/mud on Born Blind’s eyes.  Great.  How to explain…

“Go, and wash yourself in the pool of Siloam.”

He was in this far, and there was no harm in a visit to the pool, so he went.  Lowering himself to the water’s edge and dipping his hand in the water, he washed his eyes clean of the mud and blinked.

Born Blind could see.

Born Blind. Could.  See.

The whole neighborhood was amazed.  They all stared at him.  Same coat, same pants, same goofy face, but this guy can see.  Surely it’s not the guy we have known since he was a baby?  That guy was a blind beggar and this guy looks just like him.

“I am he!” he told them.

They asked him how he had his eyes opened and he told them, “A man called Jesus made mud, anointed my eyes, and then said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went away and washed, and I received sight.”

Oh, sure.  “Where is this Jesus?”

Shrug.  “I don’t know.”

So they brought Born Blind (who could now see) to the smartest people they knew, the Pharisees.  Being peddlers themselves, they were very well schooled on the nuances and odors of religious BS.   They asked Born Blind to tell them what happened.  A second time, he explains, “He put mud on my eyes, I washed, and now I see.”

Oh boy.  This crowd cannot handle this story.  Unable to wrap their very well educated brains around this man’s tale that defied logic, they asked for Born Blind (who could now see)’s best guess as to who this man called Jesus was.

Best guess?  “He is a prophet.”

Slow blink.

The Jews did not believe him and decided to bring his parents in to ask them.  Was he really Born Blind or was this a scam for begging?  How do we even know the truth?

Dragged out of their home and in front of their town’s religious leaders, Born Blind (who can now see)’s parents have to think fast.  On one hand, their darling boy can see, on the other hand, they are standing not far from a field of rocks that are aching to be thrown at someone’s head.

“Is this your son who was Born Blind?  How is it that he can now see?”

Stutter, gulp, uhhhhh, “Yes.  That is our son and our son was born blind, but how he now sees and who opened his eyes, we don’t know.  He’s of age.  Ask him.”

Back to Born Blind (who can now see.)  The exasperated religious leaders give the newly healed man a good religious what for to try and help him  snap out of it.  “Give glory to God! We know that this Jesus is a sinner.”

“I don’t know if he is a sinner.  One thing I do know: that I was blind and now I see.”






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