Once there was a man who announced to friends and family members that he was dead. Not dying: he was dead. They pointed out that they could see each other, talk, and do everything living people do. He breathed, ate, slept: he was not dead. But he insisted that he was.

Finally they took him to a doctor. Rather than arguing with him, the doctor asked him, “Can the dead bleed?” The man thought, then admitted that no, the dead can’t bleed (because they are dead.) The doctor proposed this: “I will cut you, then stitch you back up afterwards. If you bleed, you are alive.” The man agreed to be cut.

When the scalpel broke through the skin, blood immediately spurted forth. Quickly the doctor patched the man up. He looked triumphantly. There was a surprised look on the man’s face, then he said, “Well I’ll be! The dead DO bleed!”

[From Rabbi and psychologist Edwin Friedman’s Friedman’s Fables.

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I wonder how many of us have opinions set in cement, which we will not be moved from? We may believe that we are dead in a way, in that there is no hope, we are helpless, life is not worth living. Or we believe a certain group is evil, without having had any in-depth interaction with them. The list could go on. It is worth thinking about as we approach Lent! Some introspection might help us to become more fully alive.