Inspiring Change Through Literature and Media
Bartimaeus was terribly down.
And so wretched was he that not even his name (which has left theologians confused till date) mattered- the bone of contention being the fact that Bartimaeus simply means Bar Timaeus i.e. Son of Timaeus. Apostle Mark’s description, which was in fact a repetition has left them even more puzzled. ‘Bartimaeus the Son of Timaeus’…
Blind, broke, rejected, relegated and overlooked by the society, as though he never even existed- his case was pathetic indeed!
Worse still, the general public permitted him no true or real identity, and rather preferred to tag him with three things, namely: his father’s name, his cloak (a kind of himation- which historians believe was symbolic of a death sentence), and his condition.
Now that is the height of despondency!
However, Bartimaeus himself wasn’t hopeless.
The remarkable thing about this wretched little beggar was the fact that even though people granted him no true audience, and were more comfortable with him being a non-entity: a blind, despondent and nameless less-privileged member of the society, there was more to him that met their naked eyes!
For, though extremely hopeless on the outside, Bartimaeus was full of life, health and optimism. And unknown to many, the guy sure had it all together within, always having a big fat grin, a song, and a constant celebration going on inside him!
As a matter of fact, he often mused about how his seemingly ‘miserable little’ life might just be fuller and far richer than that of an average ‘friend’ in the neighbourhood who reached out to help.
“Hhhhhhhmmmmmm. Only time will tell!” he always concluded.
And this wasn’t any hasty or shallow conclusion. Actually, Bartimaeus had very strong and extra sensitive touch, smell and auditory abilities, as tough to make up for his blindness.
Hence, he could discern each of his ‘customers’ accurately by some unique qualities they possessed, such as their smell, the sound of their voice, their footsteps etc.
Moreover, he was also excellent at reading moods of people, and would correctly predict the frame of mind of his ‘regulars’ by the way they tossed coins into his bowl!
Interestingly, of recent, Bartimaeus would usually say something like, “Cheer up and do enjoy your day Simeaon Bar Josias” in response to a kind gesture.
But what ‘blind’ folks they were, and definitely too buried in their ‘dejected’ lives to note these things!
They simply ignored his ability to guess their names correctly, and treated his candid advice as ‘vain babbling’. No one ever paused to consider how sensible, accurate and timely they usually could be- not even once!
Little wonder they urged him to keep quiet when he cried out to The Master for mercy: wasn’t he a constant ‘wailer’ any way?
But Bartimaeus wasn’t born with optimism. Truth is he had lived over half his life gloomy- rather like the helpless victim of circumstances society had taught him he was.
This had continued until one fateful day when he was fortunate enough to have eavesdropped to a conversation between a certain Pharisee who had ‘patronized’ him and another by-stander…
“Snooping in on people might get you into trouble someday”, his father, who had caught him red-handed several times often advised when he was much younger- too young to become the beggar he had turned out to be…
Well, that very episode had proved ‘daddy’ wrong- at least for someone in his circumstances- part of daddy’s mistakes … , and his life was not to remain the same from that day forward…
To be continued…
Funmi Adebayo © 2012