October 26, 2011 by Nicole
In the last four weeks, I have met one of the most amazing guys I have ever met in my life. This dude is funny, compassionate, is more respectful of women than just about anyone I’ve ever known. You can’t find anyone who has a closer relationship with his dad, and he loves his mama. He’s a good story teller, an awesome listener, and there’s nothing you can tell him that he hasn’t heard before. He’s never too busy to chat with you, and most importantly, he’s lived life and can really relate to what’s making your life rough.
If I were about 15 years (Yes, that’s right, I said 15 years; My 21st birthday was a really long time ago.) younger and single, you’d think that I would have found me the perfect guy. Actually, I married the perfect guy a little over 10 years ago, but it’s only been in the last month that I have actually gotten to know this other guy. I know what you’re thinking, and no, I am not cheating on my husband. I am talking about Jesus.
As a result of my pilgrimage to Lourdes this past summer, God has changed me in some pretty profound ways. I discovered while in Lourdes that I was really not making a sincere effort to draw close to God, and even making the effort to go to mass on a regular basis was not entirely sincere (I skipped sometimes simply because I didn’t feel like going.) Since I have returned home, however, I read the Bible nearly every day, I spend serious time in prayer with God every night, I have honored my commitment to go to mass at least twice a week (I did fall off the wagon for two weeks, but I am back on it now. 🙂 ), and every day I reflect on the birth, the ministry, the passion, and the resurrection of Jesus through my Rosary.
About a month ago, the holy Spirit really came after me; she/he/it (??) urged me to start seriously studying Scripture and getting to know who Jesus is–not just to know the stories about Him. Thus, I joined the Little Rock Scripture Study at church, and have been studying the gospel of Mark for the last month. I have been learning some very interesting things.
For one thing, I am finding out that I really had no idea that Jesus was so deeply compassionate, especially toward women. I guess in my head, I always “knew” he was a nice guy, but it’s like knowing that Abraham Lincoln was a nice guy. You hear about what Lincoln did and you respect and admire him for it, and you know that you should honor him because of the struggles he endured, but you only “know” him in the sense that he’s more of an “idea” than an actual flesh and blood guy.
It’s funny to picture Jesus getting up and getting dressed in the morning, eating breakfast with Mary and Joseph, and then going out to the shed to build a table or something. It’s also hard to imagine what Jesus felt like when his foster father Joseph died, or how Joseph’s fatherly influence on Jesus’ life influenced the way that Jesus taught people about God as a heavenly Father in his ministry. Obviously, Jesus went to a wedding at Cana, so it makes you wonder if there was something like the Canaanite bunny hop that people did for fun, and if Jesus ever got down and got funky on the dance floor.
I imagine that Jesus got pretty physically tired from the sheer number of people who continually sought him out–even showed up places before he got there–and probably longed for some alone time and peace and quiet to pray, but he always made people and relationships his first priority. He must have been incredibly pissed off at people who were more interested in the letter of the law than in the spirit of it, and yet he managed to keep his cool most of the time when he knew that the Pharisees, Herodians, and the Scribes were trying to find a way to either humiliate him or trip him up. I also imagine that he could feel his heart breaking at the way lepers, beggars, women, and people like them were ostracized and cast out from their society, or at how hungry people were for the message that he had, but had no one to teach them. It’s hard to believe how incredibly sad he felt when his friend Lazarus had died, or how he managed to be so patient with his disciples who at times seem to be incredibly thick. Or even the panic and anxiety he felt in the minutes before he knew he was about to be arrested, tortured, and killed. As a human being, the feeling of being first betrayed and then abandoned by his closest friends at the time when he needed them the most must have felt like a punch in the gut. Now, I’ve never been in a position where I have experienced even one iota as much physical pain and exhaustion as he did when he was being tortured and mocked by soldiers, but to even try to comprehend dragging that heavy cross down the street and crashing to the ground three times under its weight is–at least to me–beyond gruesome and disturbing.
There’s even one station of the cross where Jesus meets his mother Mary while he’s dragging that cross to Golgotha; I wonder how he felt seeing how much his own mother was suffering and how hard she was working to hold herself together. If he’s like most people who suffer through agony and pain, he probably was more concerned about her being taken care of and looked after and not wanting her to worry about him, even to the point of telling one of his disciples to take care of his mother after he was gone while being nailed up on that cross, probably barely clinging to life. And most of all, despite how courageously and powerfully the Bible talks about his last moments and the way that he gave up his spirit, I have to imagine that for a guy who had been so connected to God since the day that he was born, he must have felt the same kind of fear about dying that everyone does, since he cried up to heaven “Why have you abandoned me?”
Obviously, Jesus was God, but the more I read of Mark’s gospel, the more I get reacquainted with Jesus as a human person, and the more excited I get about getting back in touch with Him.