Fear Separates, Love Heals (Sixth Ordinary)

A leper came to Jesus, begging on his knees, “If you want to, you can cleanse me”. Deeply moved, Jesus put out his hand, touched him, and said, “I want to. Be clean”. Then and there the leprosy was gone, his skin smooth and healthy. (Mark 1: 40 – 42)

The day after my Year 6 school year had finished, my family moved, and all summer long I missed my friends back in the city. So I invited my friend Billy to spend the weekend.

Our visit was a bit stilted at first; at 12 we were both changing so drastically. After walking around my new neighbourhood (where I knew no one), and playing some card games Billy had learned since I had moved, it was time to get ready for bed. Trying to be casual, Billy asked, “You don’t sleep with a teddy bear, do you?”

“Heck no!” I replied, wondering if I’d hid my stuffed animals well enough in the back cupboard. “Oh,” replied Billy. “I hope it doesn’t bother you that I brought mine along.” He pulled a small, worn bear from his overnight bag.

I felt horrible! I’d betrayed my best buddy and was still too afraid of appearing uncool to do the right thing and drag out my own favourite teddy bear. The rest of the weekend I felt a rift between us. Years later, we met at our high-school reunion. It was great seeing Billy, now a police sergeant and a good man. We spent the whole time catching up and joking around like old times. Driving home, I reflected on all the time with Billy I’d lost – all because of fear.

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