Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Empty Tomb - Luke 24: 1-13
Mary and I spent the night curled into each other, drained of all tears, holding each other so that neither of us would go flying apart into a million pieces.  I woke first, a habit from my earlier career of finding it best to be up and about early, so that I could hustle the customer along and begin preparations for the next.  The minute my eyes opened the loss hit me again.  I had believed him longer than any of our group, had known he meant death when he said his time of trial would come soon, when he said he would be leaving us.  This is why I bought the perfume, why I risked dredging up my old reputation even now that I was new under his gaze.  Still, the finality of it, the pain of it…it nearly undid me.  I squeezed my eyes shut again, shifted closer to Mary, wanting to forget forever.  Wanting to return to dreamland and just drift in nothing for all time.  It did not work.  I stretched quietly and moved away from the bed, starting some water to boil, slicing a few pieces of bread.  We would eat, and then we would go finish what could not be finished on the Sabbath: preparing his body for a more permanent burial.  I knew that guards of the Roman leader stood outside, that a stone large enough to need four men to roll it, had been placed over the entrance to the tomb.  What I did not know is how we would overcome these obstacles.  I looked out the window while I contemplated the problem, and stared into the heart of a storm.  The clouds were black and moving quickly, the trees nearly bent double to pay homage to the ruling winds.  As I watched, a torrent of rain abruptly started, stopping as suddenly a few moments later.  The sun peaked weakly out behind some low clouds on the horizon, and I saw that everywhere was a heavy fog, an uncommon sight in these arid lands.  Everything was obscured and uncertain.  Everything was hushed and damped down.  Everything was lost, I thought, and turned from the gloomy sight to see Mary sitting dully on the edge of the bed, no life in her eyes.  I ran the few steps and kneeled to take her hands in mine and rub them vigorously, as if trying to waken life in her this way.  But already she had come fully awake and was now silently crying, the tears pooling between our feet.  The water boiled on the fire, and I jumped away from her with a quick hand patting her head.  I prepared the tea for us both, and brought her a cup, insisting she take it when she did not react.

In a half hour we had both rallied enough that we had dressed, obtained the supplies we needed, tied them up in a cloth on our back and started out the door.  Today would not be easy, but the work needed to be done.  We owed him at least that. (to be continued)

Friday, March 13, 2015


What I am to you is not me.  The lyric echoed through my head.  I t would not stop.  The judge was talking, the verdict and sentence we had waited months to hear—months—hell, years, maybe my whole conscious life—was being delivered and I could hear nothing but What I am to you is not me.  What I am to you is not me.  Not me, Not me.

My daughter, usually statuesque at 5’10’’ crumples next to me and her tears begin to flow.  Her sorrow hits me like a tsunami and yet I still know nothing of what has transpired—no decision of this court will end her pain—still only know What I am to you is not me.

Are you going to pay in some small way for the destruction you have wrought?  For the black poison you have pressed into our mouths year after year?  For the seed you have sown into the willing soil of our bodies and souls which grew and choked us out almost completely?

I look down at my hands; their shaking surprises me, and I will them to reach around hers and hold on.  Why are we here?  I wonder.  What does this day matter, these words I cannot hear, what do they matter?  I feel nothing as I try to enact comfort on her.  I feel nothing.  I hear nothing. 

Still, I am something.  Twenty four years ago my soul shouted, “I am something!” defying your malediction. What I am to you is not me. 

That is the only verdict that saved me.  That is the only verdict that will save my daughter. 

I whisper the benediction into her ear, “You are something,” my forehead pressed against her temple.  Then I pull her out of the courtroom and into the sun.


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