Carried Over

We are collectively surprised at how ephemeral the boat is, balloonish, easily punctured. As are we. I wonder if the others have drawn the same conclusions-we have become ghosts in our erstwhile stories, still haunted by the house, by the spouse, by the hope we left behind.

Only Lazarus whistles a chipper tune. Why is he so happy? Because nothing is a cool hand to lose.

Rude Interrogatory

I try to establish timeline–

It was the spring…close to Passover

How long had you been dying?

How long had you? he retorts, not angry, incisive.

Surely I have touched a nerve, who else gets bullied for coming back from the dead?

But it is the one question he answers, the one time I hear his speaking voice–

Same as you, from the moment I was born.

The Waiting Room

John 11:1,3 KJV

[1] Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. [3] Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.

In the waiting room, I try to act casual, as though I have not followed him here, studied his story, combed it for gaps and terrible silence.

I prattle on about my own sodden sorrow

Unsurprisingly, he is an excellent listener.

But he holds his peace, his haunting piece, tragedy and conjecture, punctuated by improbable

Glory

Eleazar

John 11:3 KJV

[3] Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.

In my hunger I sit with him, follow him from room to room. Marvel at his silence

He does not have to tell me what we both already know, but I trail him regardless

Want something from him

Whether it is what he saw so long ago now or what he will not say

About the days of our mutual confinement

4 Days Gone

Who knew the bosom of Abraham was the ICU at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital or that anybody could become impatient with the nearly-returned-from-the-grave, this is sleeping beauty territory, he says, so many years after the event, as he stays with me through the insomniac watches of the night. You see only a muted scrim at first, but later you see so much more, the way time can be a tomb, and you in it, Lazarus,

It is He who always has

Walked in and out of these rooms with me

Delivering Light

Swaddling Clothes

I have a friend who fights.  She has brightly colored hand wraps that she uses to protect her hands beneath her boxing gloves.

She bandages each hand so that the knuckle is protected, the wrist and all the space in between.

When I have watched her wrap and unwrap her hands it has reminded me of Jesus.

I think of him as a baby. In the primitive conditions of his arrival, the Bible records his swaddling–wrapped in swaddling clothes, laid in a manger.  

Descriptions of ancient infant swaddling talk about cleaning the newborn with oil and salt, then wrapping the child in strips of torn cloth.

Lazarus was swaddled when he emerged from his tomb.

The ancients swaddled their newborns and their dead, wrapping both in the same strips of cloth, washing each for the journey ahead.

The story of Jesus’ anointing at Bethany bears striking resemblance to his washing as a newborn and is a stated preparation for the soon-to-be swaddling of his dead body.

Three days is a long time to wait for a resurrection, four days is even longer.  But for many of us 20, 30, or 40 years is how long we have waited for our dead to rise to life.

And if eternity is the span of human existence, then it is also the length of time we must measure each human soul, inside or outside our dark and solitary tombs.

To believe in the resurrection of the dead is to believe in the extreme triumph of Life over death, heaven over hell, good over bad.

To stand at the mouth of the tomb and know that someday each of us will be called to walk out of our tombs into Light.