I will be naked soon for the rending of my garments, hairless too. The women assure me grief softens with time. Not mine. The pain in my mother’s heart is as 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 will 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 me to him, a parting gift. Dear John, the only one who did not flee—trembling, bleating, denying.
I sensed the greatness of my son from the very beginning, from the moment when I heard his first moist 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 a babe can know? Any other? Nothing. This one? Everything and more.
Joseph had stood behind me in that place, in that moment.
“It is . . . He is . . . as the angels said.”
I felt my thoughts and Joseph’s merge, run together like a river. 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 as 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 attempted to stand, failed. Bent at the waist, I forced my fists against my gut. A growl of a moan worked its way up and out of me. I shook my head, felt the over and over whip of wet hair in my eyes. My tears drenched the dung at my feet.
Every day as he grew into his destiny this was my prayer:
“Not today, LORD, nor tomorrow. Let there be one more day, Master. He’s my precious boy child. Allow him another day to teach, to heal, to love. He has all of eternity to be with you. Please, afford me a few more . . .”
The women hover, their hands and fingers like insects close to my face. I swat and moan.
I gaze toward the
“Take me, Abba, sooner than later. Today, please? I want to see him, touch him,
kneel before him, one more time.” Temple Mount
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. For a season they were the bright stars of this world. A season so brief before 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 perished with our sons. Moses himself could bring manna and we would bow our heads, purse our lips, turn away.
I will let Elizabeth hold me. Rather, I will cradle her fragile, diminished frame. Free her hair, comb its grayness with my fingers, murmur into the mass of it.
“You pretend I am John. I will make believe you are my Jesus.”
We have no need of husbands. It is no longer necessary to pretend we love them more than the fruit of our loins.
My Jesus never resembled me, did not have my eyes, the cleft in my chin. Even so, 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 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.