Church of England Diocese of Norwich Thelveton with Frenze

Blind Bartimaeus

Blind Bartimaeus

1
When I first begin to know that I am blind, I grieve for my sight. I am angry that God has made me so.
But as time goes by I fall into the routine of a blind man's life. People are generous, so I do not starve. I often have some left over to give to my family, my father and mother. I do not need to be a burden to them. There are so many small consolations in my blindness – the companions who sit with me, the sounds of people passing, the kindness of strangers, and the familiar reactions of the people that I know.
Of course there are pains. They taunt me, and play tricks on me. I do not know when my clothes are streaked with mud, I cannot tell when they have put things in my way – sometimes foul things – I will not dwell on them.
There are those who are good and kind, familiar people who do not taunt my blindness, or pity it, but accept who I am and what I can provide. I love, and am loved, what more can I ask of life?
O, but there is pain in my blindness. Just to know I cannot see when others can, the despairing pain of their kindly descriptions of the beautiful sunset, or the golden autumn tree.
O God, I want to see. Have pity on me.

2
Who comes? Why the fuss? Jesus of Nazareth?

SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME.

Hush, don't make a fuss.

SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME.

What do I want? What else? I want to see.

3
The sunset is beautiful. The golden autumn tree sheds its leaves on the carefully mown grass. I no longer sit by the roadside with my companions. People are not generous, for my begging days are over.
For a while I followed after Jesus of Nazareth. He was exciting, vibrant, alive as I have never known. He talked of wholeness, and life, and how it is in the Father's kingdom. And I drank his words like water from a living spring.

They killed him, hung him on a tree. I couldn't watch. The pain was too great for me.
I wanted so much to see, but when it came to this I could not look. No matter what choices we make there is so much pain among the joy.
I cannot go back to my old life. I have to learn now to live with my sight, to find a way to earn my daily bread, my place amongst the ordinary people.
They killed him, you know, the man who healed me.

SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME.

4
So I walk again the road to Jericho. My father will find me work. I'll live through today, and tomorrow, and tomorrow perhaps the pain will fade, and I will find joy in the sunset and the autumn tree.
So I walk the road to Jericho.
And who are you who walk along with me?
You have his eyes, and the touch of his hand on my shoulder. But who are you?
His were the first eyes that I saw, so compassionate, so wise. I will never forget the light in them.
But those eyes are closed and gone. How can it be that you have his eyes, and come, and walk with me? How can it be that you have his eyes, and are not he?

Son of David, have mercy on me.

GH