The Woman Watching and Knowing

What did it feel like when they threw you to the ground? When you were shown to be what you are for all to see? Did you feel shame and heartache? Did you put your defenses up and let your spirit growl? What brought you to that point? Was it desperation? Looking for love? A sense of no other path? Did you trust the man you were with or was it for payment that you ended up in the dirt?

My heart breaks for you. My brain hurts. My soul wants to reach out and lift you up. But I watch instead. My curiosity has the best of me, and my fear is even stronger than that. They have rocks in their hands, sweet girl. How did it ever get to this point?

The teacher is sitting. He's not looking up, neither are you. Do you know the compassion in his eyes, inches away? The men encircle you both, waiting an answer. Their ire and fury are clear. The crowd grows around them. The electricity is in the air. It is you both they hate. One who shows who they clearly are, humans hurting each other, and the other shows who they aren't, quiet teachers with authority.

"We should stone her. She's an adulteress. She broke the law. It is clear. Just look at her, here in the filth of this dirt. You see her each day. It's clear in her step, her dress, and the look on her face. She deserves this punishment. She deserves our hate. She deserves to be persecuted and punished."

He's quiet. He stays where he is. He begins writing in the dirt. What is he thinking, and why are they asking him these things? Of course, we have all seen her. And so many stay clear, because sin sometimes seems contagious. But I wonder as I look at the men and crowd near by; what would their sin be, if someone dragged them from the shadows into the clear blue sky? What would they be deemed guilty of if they were thrown at someone's feet themselves? And I am grateful for the cloaks which keep me hidden.

I know my heart. I could be this girl. I am guilty of her sin and more. She stays with her head down, tear marks through the dirt on her face. Her clothing was torn away, ripped, shredded, as she was dragged here to the public eye. I know her shame. My heart bears its weight. My own tears fall for her. What will this man do? Will he condemn her as the rest? Will he say she behaved in a way that deserved this treatment? Will he be the first one to throw a rock?

The irony: she has already condemned herself. Not because of the life she is leading, but because she thinks she deserves no better.

He stands and speaks. "You who are without sin be the first to throw your rock." And he waits.

The crowd waits.

The men look at the ground, the woman, the dirt, the rocks in their hands, and then they leave one by one, the oldest heading out first. I can tell some would like to throw that rock, they think they are so righteous and perfect. They wait for someone else to be the first, and then they would join in. But there are enough who know the truth, none of them are sinless. No, not one. They all leave.

He kneels before her, and gently lifts her face in his hand. "There is no one to condemn you, so neither shall I. Go, and sin no more."

As he stands and walks away with his disciples, she stands and walks towards her home. It is in this moment I must act. It is in this time I must change who I have been up until now.

I sweep off one of my cloaks and wrap it around her shoulders. She is startled at first, and I can't blame her. She wants to be loved, seen, accepted, and cared for, but right now she is scared. She has gone to great lengths to have people act as if they care, but she knows she is alone right now, and I must help her not be.

I look in her eyes and speak what fear tells me not to say, "Sweet sister, my friend, let me walk with you to your home. Then, come and stay with me for a while, as things get straightened out. You are worth more than the silver they put in your hand. Your value is not in how attractive they think you are. Please, trust me today, and let us walk together. For I have been where you are, felt how you feel, and been who you think yourself to be.The teacher didn't condemn you, so please don't condemn yourself. You are loved dearly and completely. Not for anything you do, nor how you look, but for the very spirit that resides in your soul."


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Comments

  1. beautiful, Stacey. I can relate, too.

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  2. What a beautiful and compassionate post. I'm thankful I stumbled across it today. The image will stick with me. Blessings! Janet Reeves

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    1. I'm thankful you left a note, Janet. You are kind and I appreciate your thoughts ever so much.

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  3. Oh, this is beautiful. I love your heart and your imagination. This is a true exercise in empathy. Thank you for writing it and sharing it. You truly have a gift. I felt like I was there, transported into the story.

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    1. Thank you so much Jamie. I can't begin to say how much the encouragement means to me!

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