Touch the Hem
“Earth is so thick with divine possibility that it is a wonder we can walk anywhere without cracking our shins on altars.”
—Barbara Brown Taylor
Recently, I returned to one of my favorite scriptures in the Gospel of Mark about the hemorrhaging woman who suffered in body and spirit for over twelve years with no relief. She was at the end of hope’s rope. Hearing about this curious man named Jesus, she decides to throw a Hail Mary. Finding Jesus in the crowd, she reaches out and touches the hem of his robe. The contact is electric. An energy passes between them. Jesus rewards the woman for taking a risk of faith. Just by touching his hem, her life is once again filled with possibility—hope.
“Touch the Hem” is my code word for actively seeking an experience of divinity in my ordinary, and sometimes challenging, mortal existence. Whether we admit it or not, every single one of us craves an experience of something more, something of God, to assure us that the world is good, sacred, and divinely-protected. Nothing compares to those mystical moments of joy when you know you have come in contact with the Eternal here on earth.
God is offering us infinite opportunities for healing, resurrection, and joy in our present and future. Sometimes when you are completely dismayed by present life—”heart-sunk”—like the hemorrhaging woman, you have to force hope’s hand. Move through the crowd of your life, searching for a glimmer of beauty, of goodness, of light, of healing, of proof of divinity, to keep stepping forward. For me, this story is revelatory because it shows that even the smallest encounter and our souls resurrect.
Experiences of divinity are everywhere. I touch the Hem on my walks at Radnor Lake, especially when I see an eagle or owl. I touch the Hem listening to Vivaldi’s, “Four Seasons” and Lauren Daigle’s new song, “Thank God I do.” I touch them hem when I call my friend Anne and she makes me laugh like I am a kid again. I touch the Hem looking around the dinner table at my six children and husband. I touch the Hem saying a prayer at Alive Hospice for a spirit about to cross through the Veil and see God face to face. I touch the Hem when I am writing. I touch the Hem when someone gives me an encouraging word causing my spirit to lift in my chest. I touch them Hem when I am drifting off to sleep, my hand in David’s. I touch the Hem when I tell the truth and bare my soul to God. God wants us to touch the Hem!
“Touch the Hem.” Imagine if that was how we approached every single day? Hope would multiply within us. Our today and tomorrow would hold new promise. Maybe we would believe, like Jesus, that heaven was possible here on earth.