Mark 5:25

Meanwhile a woman who for twelve years had suffered from hemorrhage,


one terrible moment
can feel decades long
twelve years of terror
might as well be two lifetimes

one three four seven
are of symbolic and numerical value
ten and eleven
extend this dual use

is all of Israel thus bleeding
is this the feeling of the apostles
is this the number of doors open
to pick healing leaves

a symbolic twelve carries
extra added value
found in a baker’s dozen
beyond baskets of bread


We all know there is never only one storyline running through our life. A part of being alive is having to deal with multiple realities all meeting at the same time and place. Our work has to do with sorting them out. Even in the simplest of times, this is never an easy task.

Our trusted director, Mark, makes a fast cut from a milling, thronging, jostling crowd to a single person. In this case an unnamed woman. Status-carrying Jairus is being upstaged by a veritable nobody.

With the magic number 12 (twelve) this single person becomes more than a crowd. She is Israel being bled dry for the umpteenth time—this time by the Romans, Herodians, and more. Lots of smaller players such as Sadducees, Toll Collectors, and more play roles that prop up the colonizers from the inside.

We become disoriented with shifting perspectives.

Is this not Jairus’ story even though he tries to fake us out with his appeal on behalf of his daughter? Is it still the unnamed daughter’s story? Has it shifted and is now a story about a unnamed bleeding woman? Sorting Mark out is never as straight forward as finding a proposed structure to Mark’s story (see Appendix).

Can you see the disciples trying to take notes on what they think they are to be learning in the midst of this hub-bub? It would be good practice to pause for a moment to jot your own sense of where we are in a narrative flow. A direct benefit would be in evaluating the several decisions that have come together in your life, each calling out its claim of preference, privilege, and power.

In analyzing this scene we practice opening our own life.

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