Leprosy

“What did I do to deserve this?”

I suppose everyone asks that question periodically. Whenever we feel mistreated. Overlooked. Judged unfairly. It’s the universal response.

What did I do to deserve this?

So let me tell you my story.

At the tender age of seven, I was removed from my family. Or should I say, my family removed me. Being the youngest of four, I was the weakest in the clan. I assumed that my frailty may have been behind the decision of my parents to leave me in a home was due to a financial hardship that had been exacerbated by my perceived inability to carry my own weight.

But I knew there was something else. There was a reason people stared at me. Why they pulled their children away from me. Why my parents would warn others of my presence. Something was seriously wrong with me.

Why would no one hug me? Touch me. Why was my skin falling off my cheeks. Off my fingertips. Why was my color ghastly white.

I am a leper.

I didn’t know that until I was among my own. My new family. Outcasts. Untouchables. Left to die, with others who were left to die. Alone.

What did I do to deserve this?

At some point our guardians abandoned us. Once again. I wondered the streets of Tiberias. Lived off the scraps left behind by the fishermen of Galilee. I gleaned the fields during harvest time.

And then I heard of a man named Jesus. I felt hope well up within me. I made it my singular passion to be near this man from Nazareth. The One who healed many. Set people free. Gave them back their lives.

Then it happened one day. He was in my village. He was coming my way! I felt my heart racing.

By law, I was required to alert all who passed near me with a warning:

“Unclean!”

This was to prevent any unfortunate soul from the horror of coming in contact with me. Oh how I desperately wanted to be clean! I never wanted to say that word again: Unclean. As He drew near, I found myself begging rather than warning. I sounded so needy. I was.

You can make me clean!.”  I can’t believe I said that! I was so direct. So bold. It was both a fact and a request. As the words left my mouth, I was acutely aware of the outstanding courage being displayed by a nobody. At

The same time, I was frozen in fear by my own audacity.

Then He did it. What no one had done for so long. So long. He touched me.  Then He healed me. He set me free. Gave me my life back. Took away my shame. Restored my life. Redeemed me from worthlessness. Enabled to walk in public. Allowed me to hold.

And be held.

What did I do to deserve this?

(Inspired by today’s modern leper, the orphan, while at Royal Family Kids Camp)