and coming back again he found them asleep, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to say to him.
beyond open eyes
not yet focusable
any attempted response
stutters and babbles
with words unavailable
twisted every which way
even a simple standing
weaves and wobbles
to widen eyes
than before dozing
And, again, we are called to remember additional times when responses to Jesus were muddled.
After an initial enthusiasm to follow Jesus, there are times when the disciples and crowds appear reluctant to engage a larger picture and stop with confusion. This begins with the first healing when everyone in the synagogue (including the disciples) wondered, “What’s this?”
Confusion in a surprising moment is one thing; it is another in moments of teaching. The disciples were famous for sleeping through the telling of parables and needing private tutoring regarding what they had apparently slept through.
After rescue from a storm at sea, the disciples looked at one another and couldn’t figure out, “Who is this?”
In the healing of a daughter, after how many healings, Peter, John, and James were “shocked” and told to be quiet about what they experienced, lest they confuse others based on their own dismay.
Confusion turned to resistance when the disciples were asked to feed a crowd of people and later were unable to “understand” about the loaves. Their opposition deepened when asked to wrestle with the idea that a Messiah would suffer and die.
Most telling is the Transfiguration scene when Mark records Peter’s blabbering “because he didn’t know how to respond”.
The hero’s task becomes both more difficult at each block and more likely to succeed when they continue to hold steady.
There is a dawning clarity that we do not escape a needed exploration of our wilderness (in this case betrayal) by recruiting way-goers. Hope for their future transfiguration/rising can be held but their present weakness and vulnerability must be accepted as real. The only thing left is a next attempt to renegotiate with a beloved’s partner.