Timothy was called many things, but none of them made him tear up. Yes, the names hurled at him hurt, all the more reason not to give them the satisfaction to see his pain.
-Mutt, Gentile Dog, Barbaric, Impure, Unclean, Backwater, the Defiled.
He hated going to school. The harder he tried to fit in, the more he stood out. It was strange how in the morning when he gazed at himself in the mirror, it was always the feature he hated most that stood out, his father's eyes, his mother's nose.
So it caught him off guard when Paul said to him “My Son.” Even his father did not say those words who left before he could say “Dad.” So when Timothy heard himself being called “son,” before he could take control of his emotions - which he thought he had mastered -- he was sobbing like a kid. And he was back on the playground, on the market streets of Lystra and all those people who pelted him with those names. And the single word, “Son,” took all those names and calmed them down by embracing them all.
PRICILLA AND AQUILA
Pricilla and Aquila landed in Corinth still shaking in shock. This all seemed like a nightmare and Pricilla still believed that any moment, she would be roused awake to their home in Rome. They had made it, unlike most of the Jews, in Rome. They had worked hard, opened their own tent-selling mom-and-pop shop. And after a decade of frugal living, they had bought a house, a small corner lot, just enough for the two of them. Then one night, a loud bang, papers thrown into their face and soldiers clamoring that the property belonged to the Emperor because the Jews were being expelled for treason, and they found themselves outside on the street, homeless.
They did not see how they could rebuild again, but they got started again, nevertheless, with the only thing they knew how, tent making. On the third day, they saw a Jew, short, bald, a weathered face made gentle with an inviting smile. He was always humming hymns while stitching fabric. One day he stopped by and said, “Hello,” and after few pleasantries they were telling this guy, who called himself Paul, everything that happened to them.
Paul heard their story, his eyes rapt in empathy which is not pity, but something more loving and strict.
When they had finished their story, Paul broke out in a smile that seemed to make light of their suffering but not in a dismissive way but in the way hope makes light of even the darkest experience. Then Paul rolled up his sleeves, “this was in Lystra,” showed his abdomen, “that was from Thessalonica, not too long ago, and this,” he exposed his back to them, “was from Philippi” and it was lined with welts that ran the length of his back. There was hardly a clean patch of skin.
From that day on they sewed tents together as Paul spoke of Jesus who was expelled from Jerusalem and nailed to the wood but how the Great Reject was the Great Savior. They began to forget the home they lost in Rome. Actually, the whole world no longer felt like home because the nights spent tenting and talking about Jesus with Paul felt like home.