Follow Me

LEVI

Judgment – the gavel banged

echoing to the onlookers

approval, the lights

grew dim, silence. . .

and then the chatter

resumed . . .

Levi sighed.

The courtroom 

disappeared and

his feet padded

as he hurried across 

the church vestibule

away from the eyes,

back to the college dormitory

to decipher his questions

about God and the theodicy of evil

to a more sympathetic ear.

The same eyes that judged his neighbors

Susana, the live-in girlfriend,

Jonathan, the drunken quadriplegic

Allysa, the drug-addicted schizophrenic,

Leo, the unemployed veteran,

and Kathy, the desperate single mother,

the kind of people who survived on food

stamps, government checks, and pure grit,

the kind of people despised

by church-goers

and activists alike,

& he vowed never 

to return.

JONATHAN (10 Years Later)

Carefully, 

Susana,

Leo, 

Allysa,

& Kathy

wheeled Jonathan

through the fire exit,

the place was jammed

to the hilt,

as if Eminem 

or Stephen Hawkings

or even the President

had descended on the lowly

Richard Johnson Auditorium.

The healer stood

amidst the crowd,

turning, he looked at Jonathan,

“Your sins are forgiven.”

The distinguished professors 

of Liberty Christian College

raged to their feet in protest,

who was this madman 

to make such outrageous claims?

“You can’t forgive him. You don’t have 

that kind of authority.”

The healer replied calmly,

“Which is easier to say,

Your sins are forgiven, or,

Get up and push your wheelchair home? 

You should know that I have authority to forgive sins.”

He felt it then a tingle, spreading,

moving down his spine into his legs.

Then, the healer spoke again, 

“Jonathan, Get up and push your wheelchair home!”

The tingle had turned to feeling

and he jumped up.

His friends gathered around him 

scooping him into a bear-hug, he could feel

for the first time in years. 

And everyone was clapping

and saying they had never seen anything like it.

LEVI

“Hey you, baby-killer come over here.”

Levi heard a taunting voice yell

from the fence,

as he got out of his Honda Civic

and walked to the door.

Long since, his mind

had numbed to religion

as the anger of the protestors

became the angst 

of his chosen profession.

An avowed atheist

with a passion for law

and order, he never

thought a JD

would land him here.

He shoved the key

into the abortion clinics

latch in frustration,

but then he saw Him, 

the healer,

on the other side of the fence,

away from the protestors,

He looked sad, or maybe tired

or sort of sorrowful,

His voice and manner

were gentle,

compassionate, 

compelling,

so different from the others,

and then the words,

“Follow me.”

SUSANA

Alone,

Susana stood

observing the crowd;

she had seen it, Jonathan

standing, walking, swinging

her into a ballroom dip. 

She remembered

the accident 12 years ago now, 

her boyfriend, the wild child, 

falling off a roof drunk,

then waking up 

broken, aloof, paralyzed

from the neck down,

but not anymore,

no more need for Jonathan

to apologize for the shame

he had brought on her, 

years of isolation, an outcast

caring for a cripple, 

the townspeople whispering her name

as if it was an obscenity.

She had never meant

to be that person; she was an obedient

child: kind, loving, forgiving,

but her life seemed

to have spiraled out-of-control.

“Why are you visiting with baby-

killers and miscreants?”

The healer glared across 

at two men, religion professors 

who only acknowledged

her existence

when they grew impatient

in the grocery line.

“Those who are well

have no need of a physician, but those

who are sick. 

I have not come to call

those who feel they have God’s approval, 

but rather those who are broken 

by their sinfulness.”

His words pierced down

to her heart and she sobbed;

all those years of mental anguish, alienation, 

a scarlet letter crushing her spirit. . .

He knew her; that call to Levi

was for her too, “Follow me.”

JONATHAN

So, it was true,

Jonathan wiggled

his toes to be sure.

Yes, it was.

He giggled,

a sense of euphoria

flooding his body

and he burst out

singing “I’m so happy. . .”

He saw her Susana,

beaming from ear to ear,

no more shame. 

they were free;

they could move

to California, or Missouri, or New Mexico,

anywhere,

away from this place of regret. . .

Jonathan wanted to thank him

for restoring his ability to dream,

for restoring his life;

finally, he could marry Susanna

in the full strength of his manhood,

they could meet new people

in a new place with new motives

and no one would see them 

as Susanna, the slut,

or Jonathan, the cripple.

Where was he, the healer?

Over there, at the door, smiling 

at him with an expression so loving 

and tender – it warmed him 

from the inside out.

Suddenly, it all made sense,

his sins were forgiven,

the wheelchair, the looks of pitiful superiority,

the years of pain were gone;

Instead, the healer’s touch

had become in him a spring

of living water,

and he could drink 

in these streams of love and kindness

to share with other sinners

the news of one 

who could cure their ills,

forgive their sins,

and save their souls.

Yes, those words,

“Follow me,”

spoken with lingering conviction

were for him too.

LEVI

Stepping to the door,

Levi stood to leave.

Glancing behind him,

he saw the healer’s mark 

on everyone,

the glow of health in Jonathan’s tone,

the confidence in Susana’s step,

the sanity in Alyssa’s eyes,

the determination in Leo’s expression, 

and the hope in Kathy’s exclamations of joy.

Yes, they would be alright,

they would follow the healer,

and so he followed too.

3 thoughts on “Follow Me

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