Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Woman Who Gave All She Had

I imagine that she was an aspiring entrepreneur wanting to open her own perfume shop with exotic exports from all around the world. In realizing her limits, whether financially, societally, or whatever else, she could only devote herself to her one beautiful jar of her favorite scent.

The woman, although her dreams and ideals were high, was humbled by her circumstances. Never had she married, so her family had disowned her and moved away. She was depressed and lived below the poverty line. She experienced severe anxiety around others because of how often she had been rejected and belittled in her life. But again, she was just trying to make a living in this cruel world with her one bottle of fragrant oil.

She may share a drop or two with you if you find her on her route around downtown, and if you pay her the right price. After all, she had to make a living somehow, and she surely despised the way other women in similar situations resorted to selling their bodies to live a life of wealth. One day, as she made her way around town, she heard rumors of a man who seemed too strange to be true-- a man who hung out with homeless people and sick and dying men; a man whose friends were drunks, drug addicts, and gamblers; a man who was rumored to heal those who were ailing from some longstanding handicap; a man who calmed the voices inside the schizophrenic and bi-polar person's head; a man who spoke against oppression and stood for and with those who had no voice. This man traveled around the countryside speaking mysteries to those who were curious enough to listen, and this day, the woman heard that he had come to her town to stay for the weekend.

She hoped that she may run into him while she was around town but wanted to avoid seeking him out; what would she say to him, anyway? She often stumbled upon her words and stood in the shadows of others' conversations. What would she offer him for a hint of his healing powers or some sign of a divine spark? She had nothing but a jar of perfume that was even hard to sell in this tough economy. And did she even deserve to try and receive some magical healing? Others were in worse situations than her own, and how selfish of her to think that she was worth the trouble.

That evening, a friend of hers came to her home to have some tea and chat. She had heard that this man who had come to town was heading over to have dinner with a man, her neighbor, who lived just down the street. The man was well-known in the neighborhood for his involvement with a local church and despite his service to the Lord, he had been stricken with stage four cancer. Rumors were circulating that this strange man had healed her neighbor completely from his cancer in a moment. Despite her hesitance, the woman could not miss this opportunity to meet the strange man.

After her friend went home, the woman stood in her tiny kitchen, nervously watching out her window for any sign of his arrival at her neighbor's place. After about ten minutes of watching, she noticed a group of about 10 people walking up the street toward her neighbor's house, and without any indication or distinction, she was able to tell right away that one man was noticeable in a way that none of the others were. She watched them as they entered the man's house with many hugs, smiles, and handshakes. Knowing that the interruption of their meal was quite taboo, especially being a street-peddling, poor, single woman, she put on her jacket, grabbed her jar of perfume so that her neighbor may think she was trying to make a sale, and then headed over to her neighbor's. The man greeted her kindly, and without question or wonder, invited her in.

The woman saw the visitor and immediately began weeping, for somehow she felt that he loved and accepted her in a way that no one else in her life ever had. Somehow, his presence restored her sense of value and worth, her hopes and dreams seemed possible, and all her struggles in life seemed for a purpose. She fell at his feet and wiped her tears away with her hair, not really thinking how much more sense it would have made to use her dress or her blouse for the same purpose. Although she should have felt embarrassed, she felt proud and beautiful and free. Out of that freedom from worry, she poured all of her favorite perfume over the man's feet. She didn't fear losing her life's wages and what the consequences of her action might be, but she instead felt the deepest peace and belonging she had ever felt. How could one man inspire such inexplicable emotions in such a short moment?

At  the sight of this absurd action, some of the man's friends began to question the woman and her intentions. Who was she? Why had she come? And why the hell would she just waste all of that really expensive perfume? Was she mentally disabled or just stupid? The man rebuked his friends for scolding her because he saw her devotion to him. He sustained that confidence in her as he defended her, and he invited her to dine with them the rest of the night.

That night the woman walked away with a sense of joy and provision. Never again would she have to worry about the food on her table, the reputation she held in the town, the money to pay her rent and bills, or the clothes in her closet that were beginning to tear. That man had shown her true, untainted love, and within that love she had found the power to pursue new ways of making a living. She began to think creatively, outside of the standards of the society, for ways to obtain food, clothes, or anything else she would need. She now had a community that she could depend upon who also saw the man's beauty and devoted themselves to following him. She knew she would never again be forsaken or alone, and she praised the God that she had always known was there but had never really been able to grasp, for now he was within her reach.