They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.
Mark 10:46-52 (NRSV)
Old Bartimaeus, his
memory held in trembling hands,
gout and loss enveloping his muscles, bones,
sorrow wrapped around his mind;
does he remember that day so long ago, when all of life
stood still so he could see the colors of his world?
Remember sitting by the road,
blind and crying out to Jesus—
bellowing, really—desperate and terrified of
being overlooked yet one more time?
Remember that Jesus-crowd surging past, too busy
singing happy praise to notice some poor
bawling soul along their path? Remember
Jesus stopping, standing still? Remember
rush of wonder as he sensed he had
become the center of celestial awe—wind and
angels, saints and ancient stars all gazing down on
him in hushed respect, as David’s Son stood
still for him, for him, a lowly, raucous beggar, a
good-for-little blinded man? Remember Jesus
scooping up his eager faith, telling him to
go on his way—sighted, whole,
ecstatically jumping for joy?
So long ago.
He now himself stands often still, when he can
stand at all, his body so misshapen, his voice
mere whisper, his mind so tentative. But
now and then, a smile will crease his ancient face; his
eyes will shine with light, as he
recalls, imbibes, and claims that day when
Love stood still to drench his life with joy.