Friday, April 22, 2011

The Mourning After

I will be naked soon, for the rending of my garments.  Hairless too.  The women tell me grief softens with time.  Not mine.  The pain in my mother’s heart is like Job’s pottery shards.  Never will the knife-edged fragments cease to cut me.  From the inside out.

The women grip my wrists.  To keep my nails from my face.

“You’ll be ugly.”

What do I care?  I have no need, no desire, for beauty.  For a husband.  I have John now.  My Jesus presented him to me, and I to him, a parting gift.  Dear John, the only one who didn’t flee—trembling, bleating, denying. 


I knew.  I sensed it from the very beginning.  In that moment when I heard his first wet breath and mewling cry.  A seemingly ordinary infant until you drew closer and felt the urge to be with, to listen to, to learn from.  What?  What is it that a babe can know?  Any other?  Nothing.  This one?  Everything, and more.

Joseph had stood behind me in that place, in the moment.  “It is . . . he is . . . as the angels said.”

I felt my thoughts and Joseph’s melt together. My words came out into the night air, with the silver mist of my breath.

 “This babe will change everything.  Everyone.”

My consciousness withdrew from my husband’s.  I felt a contraction, a wringing, in my womb.  I had a vision of a grape press--ancient and of stone--pressing, crushing, seeming to destroy my son.  I tried to stand there in the stable.  Bent at the waist, I pushed my fists against my gut.  A growl of a moan worked its way up and out of me.  I shook my head, felt the whip of wet hair in my eyes.  Over and over.  My tears wet the dung at my feet.

Then every day, as he grew into his destiny, this was my prayer.

‘Not today, LORD.  Nor tomorrow.  One more day, Master.  He’s my precious boy child.  Let him live to teach, to heal, to love, another day.  He has all of eternity to be with you.  Please. Just a few more . . .”


The women hover, their hands and fingers like insects, close to my face.  I swat and moan.

“Leave.  Me.  Be.”

I look toward the Temple Mount.  “Take me, Abba.  Sooner than later.  Today, please?  I want to see him, touch him, kneel before him.  One more time.”

I consider the rope on the bucket in the well.


Elizabeth is on her way.  She sent word.  It will be a comfort to spend hours, no, days, mourning our sons.  They were the bright stars of this world.  For a season.  So brief.  Then they were snatched by evil men, for the sake of pride, power, pleasure even.

We can starve together, Elizabeth and me.  Call it fasting.  We have no appetites.  They died with our sons.  Moses himself could bring manna and we’d turn away.  Purse our lips, bow our heads.

I’ll let Elizabeth hold me.  Rather, I’ll cradle her fragile, diminished frame.  I’ll let down her hair.  Comb its grayness with my fingers.  Whisper into it.

“You pretend I’m John.  I’ll make believe you’re Jesus.”

We have no need of husbands.  It is no longer necessary to pretend we love them more than the fruit of our loins. 


Jesus never resembled me.  Didn’t have my eyes, the cleft in my chin.  But he belonged to me.  I carried him in my inmost parts.  His purity came through mine.  No woman has ever, will ever again, do what I have done.  My life will be the death of me.

“He will save his people from their sins.”  The angel told Joseph that.

The most glorious purpose the world has ever known and yet, I hate it.  My LORD knows and loves me still.  My confession is the world’s victory.  How can there still be fools?  Have you not seen?  Have you not heard? 

No, he was not beautiful, other than to me.  Most did not appreciate his not-of-this-world-ness.  Only if you sat at his feet or knelt before him could you glimpse heaven’s light.  And then, only if your heart was at the perfect angle of understanding.  The shalom of Yahweh—a greeting, a farewell, a covenant, an overwhelming peace—would engulf you for all time when you were surrounded by the light that was Jesus. 

That.  I will hold fast to that.  Light.  Shalom.  Yeshua HaMashiach.


Laura said...

So beautiful...

intentionalfamily said...

This is just beautiful. I'm sure you will receive a ton of comments saying the same thing, but there you are nonetheless.

writingdianet said...

Shalom Laura and I.F.:
Thank you sweeties, for your kind words. They encourage me.
Happy Easter and grace and peace to you and yours!

Tony said...

You are simply amazing!!!

Rebecca said...

I have also spent much time thinking about Mary this Easter season. Thanks for telling us a piece of her story so beautifully.

ArtMuse Dog and Carol said...

Well done ~ you have made the 'scriptures' come alive ~ ^_^

Brianne said...

Thank you for your thoughtfulness on this post. You made yourself be there, and we have benefited by reading it!

writingdianet said...

Dear Rebecca, Carol, and Brianne:
I'm touched that you took the time to comment. Glad you all enjoyed this piece. It flowed out of me about a month ago. Hardly had to edit it at all. I love when that happens:)

ArtMuse Dog and Carol said...

Rebecca ~ stopping by to say Hi and thanks for commenting on my blog and the wonderful quote you shared ^_^

-Aaron said...

Wow. This is excellent! It reminds me of the writings of Tosca Lee (one of Ted Dekker's writing buddies). In "Havah," we wrote from the first person perspective of Eve. Now she is working on a novel from the perspective of Judas. First person Biblical stories are so great! :)


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