In the gospel, Jesus heals a seriously ill woman, then she gets up a serves him. I know gender roles were very proscribed back then, and in some ways haven’t changed significantly since, but I always thought that part was pretty harsh and sort of sexist. This woman had been very ill, and as soon as she’s healed, she gets up to serve the men. I think she should be allowed to rest a little and the men can serve themselves for once. I think of my own family, and all the holiday dinners the women spent in the kitchen and the men spent in the family room. And my mom spent her whole life serving her family. She stayed home with me and my sister, and then with my sister’s kids. My sister and her kids live and work very near my mom’s house, so everyone went there for lunch every day. My mom particularly dotes on her oldest grandson, and when he came for lunch she would bring him his plate and napkin and then refill his plate or his glass. He never had to lift a finger. And after her mild stroke a couple weeks ago, she was back to making lunch for everyone. I tried to get her to sit down, let the boy fix his own plate, but she lived to serve her family and loved cooking for us all. When I took her to the store last week she was concerned about what she could fix for lunches.
Then she had a major stroke. My sister and I have been with her in the hospital, and yesterday when they brought her lunch tray in, I fed her. And she hated that she was unable, not only to take care of herself, but also that she’s unable to take care of us. When the tray came, she tried to pick up the soup bowl with her good hand, and I was so afraid she would spill hot soup all over herself. I said, “Please, Mother, let me help you.” I could see that she was angry and discouraged. She hated to accept the help that she needs now. She was able to hold the milk carton and drink the milk herself through the straw – we are happy for whatever, even small improvements. I would be so happy if Jesus came into her room and healed her, and I’m sure if he did she would jump right up and make him a sandwich. But since that’s not the situation we’re dealing with, I’m glad I’m in town, and out of school right now so I’m able to be there with her, to take care of what she needs now, and feed her supper. She spent almost fifty years serving me (and I wasn’t always an easy child to raise) and I am very glad and willing to serve her now. And I’m thinking now that the woman in the gospel perhaps did not feel put upon at all, but was grateful for the opportunity to serve her Lord.
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