You Always Have the Poor with You

While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. But some were there who said to one another in anger, “Why was the ointment wasted in this way? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.” - Mark 14:3-9

This week has been brutal.  This week has also been breathtaking.
My spouse took a couple of days off, and after the national horror of yesterday's Senate hearings, I decided to schedule a last-minute facial this morning. 
As the aesthetician massaged my face and hands with oils, I thought about the work to be done, the work of protection and justice and dignity. 
We always have survivors with us.
Jesus must have been bone-tired.  God alone knows how many people he'd healed by this point, how many hungry mouths he had already fed, how many powerful men he'd stood up to on behalf of maligned women.
And there were still more to be fed.  Still more to protect. Still more to heal.
If we think about the scope of the work to be done, we cannot carry it.  The woman with oil was anointing Jesus for his burial, but we need to be anointed and massaged and nurtured for our survival, too.
"Self-care" gives me the heebie-jeebies.  If your sleeves aren't rolled up and your hands aren't dirty, I don't want to hear a damn thing about the importance of self-care.  But if the poor are indeed among you, and if you're feeding and healing and standing firm? Be extravagantly nurtured.  Pour delicious oil on one another. Be profligate in the beauty you share and receive.
Tonya stroked my eyebrows and warmed my fingers.  Sarah, Molly, and Liz are sharing beautiful music this fall.  Dave makes me tea and soup and holds my hand.  I cannot stand without the oil they pour.
There is so much work to be done.  Only beauty and love will carry us.  


Wednesday Prayers

Tenebrae service tonight; also deep worries about a friend's critical illness.

Kyrie Eleison.

And with you?