Crumbs

Canaanite Woman

“Lord,” she calls, pulling herself through the crowd.

“Go home,” said a man, turning to her. A temple leader, a master of the law, he straightened his robe and shoves her to the ground.

“It’s not for me. I’m nothing. I’m not even worthy of your glance. It’s my daughter, Lord. She’s stricken by demons, but I know you can heal her.”

The crowd was captured, but disciples blocked her. Looking at the Master, they pleaded, “Send her away,” they say. “She’s filthy. A Canaanite.”

Irritated again, Jesus shakes his head. Pushing his followers, He turns to the woman. Against everything true, he bends to whisper. “Woman? The time has not yet come.” He speaks louder, looking about. “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

Collapsing, she paws at the dirt, pleading. “Lord, help me.”

Lifting slightly, He says, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” His followers nod, grabbing His shoulders. “Let us go, Master. There’s work to be done.”  

“Yes it is, Lord. It is right,” she interrupts. His followers gasp, and the crowd stares, silent. No one asking for healing or for favor has ever argued with Him. Peter turns to shove her, rough, but Jesus grabs him. 

“Woman?” He says. “What did you say?” 

She cowers. “It is right, Lord. See how You’re treated. Even dogs eat crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

Standing to full height, Jesus straightens. “The dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the table? Is that what you said?” His men had never seen their Master angry at anyone except for Temple Leaders. It was His right as a Hebrew man to strike her. The woman, shriveled and broken, rises to speak.

“Yes,” she says. “Even the dogs get a crumb.” Jesus pierced her with a stare. Turning to his followers and the crowd, everyone watches. He explodes with a laugh, and looks first at the woman and then to the crowd. “What faith!” He shouts, arms outstretched. “What My lamb Israel could do if she had just a grain of this faith!” He collected Himself from laughing.

“Woman,” He said, to her and to the crowd. “We are from different lands. We have a different history. But never do I see the faith that you have.” He grabbed for her hand. She jerked it away, unable to touch him. He bowed to her instead. “Woman, I grant you your request according to your faith.” She erupted in joyous crying and tears that were drowned by a murmur running through the crowd. On that very day her daughter was healed and never again showed signs of possession but, with her mother, followed the way of the Master until she died.

***

These are my crumbs. A cookie crumb or a bite of bread, falling from the table. Slivers of light, caught out of cracks, secret things. I write them on the fly and don’t smudge them with corrections or eraser marks. I don’t add photos. Subjecting them to SEO makes me feel dirty, like I need a shower.

They might come from insight or they might come from out-of-date yogurt. You decide. I’m convinced, though, that beauty lies in cracks between our daily doings. It’s my ancient grandmother humming a Czech hymn on Friday night, swiping a wet mophead back and forth in the kitchen. It’s my wife, breaking down, and then catching herself in the shower, needing to be strong.

Reader? This is beauty. Beauty in the face of it. Catching light from a crack before it closes. Keep digging when you see it. Crumbs. Enjoy them before dogs steal them.

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