* a belated Easter post. *
The murky, grey tendrils of first light slowly pried their way through the cracks of the rough, wooden door.
Morning was here.
She slowly opened her eyes and stared toward the ceiling. Swollen eyes and a dull headache were the only assurances that she was awake and alive. She had chased sleep fruitlessly all night. Waking dreams and fitful periods of dozing had dominated her rest just as the night before. Fatigue had worn her down.
She pulled herself from despair and began to dress herself and prepare for the day, moving more quickly as her body fully wakened. Finally ready, she gatherd the jars and wrappings she would need and headed out.
As she made her way to the garden, unbidden images full of blood and viciousness assaulted her. She hated this world. It never changed. Just as before, her life had been ripped apart, betrayed by the lusts of men. Whether it was sex or power didn't matter, the result was the same.
Lost in her thoughts and swirling emotions, she stumbled forward in a haphazard way, sometimes stopping and holding her head in grief as a silent sob squeezed her insides. How could this be? How could this happen? He was the only one. The only one who ever cared for her. The only one who did not look upon her with disgust and hatred. And he was gone. And..oh God...the blood they ripped out of him. They....they beat and murdered him. Pinned him to a piece of wood, just like cruel children stripping the parts off a helpless fly.
She took a deep breath, steadied herself and entered the garden.
In the dim light, the view of the tomb filled her with dread. The stone had been pushed back, leaving a gaping hole of darkness leading into the tomb. Someone had desecrated the grave. Oh no. No, no, no, no! They took him! It wasn't enough for them to crush him in life, they humiliated him even in death. She ran to the tomb, stopping short of entering, too weak to look at the vast emptiness.
Weak with shock and weeping bitterly, she threw her things down and ran. She ran away from the pain, from the raw memory of Friday, from her own dashed hopes. She ran to the only people she could.
As the world raced by her in frantic lurches, she saw Peter and John coming down the path. She threw herself before them. "They took him!. He's gone! I...I...I don't know where he is," she spoke in short, painful breaths.
They looked at her wordlessly, realization creeping into their eyes. Without speaking they left her, running to the garden as she lay on the ground in a broken heap.
After the clutches of sorrow slowly loosened their grip, Mary pulled herself up and went after Peter. She saw Peter and John exiting the tomb as she arrived, no doubt on their way to report the news to everyone else. She walked to the entrance of the tomb and leaned against the stone, the cold, rough edges chilling her. Filled with resignation, she finally peered in.
She blinked for a moment as she saw two men, dressed in white, sitting where Jesus' body had lain. She didn't recognize them, but there were many followers she had never met before. They must be here to mourn him.
"Woman.....why are you crying?" they asked.
"They took him," she whispered hoarsely, "and I don't know what they've done with him."
Exhausted, she turned and decided to go home. She could do nothing more today. Wiping her eyes, she left the tomb, nearly running into another man; probably another follower, or maybe even the gardener.
"Woman," he said, "why are you crying?"
He probably knew where they had put him. Maybe he would pity her and help.
"Please...please if you have moved him, tell me. Tell me where he is. I'll bring him back myself. Please, just tell me where he is!!" she sobbed.
"Mary," he said.
How did he know her? She paused and looked up at him.
It couldn't be, could it? No. She was just delirious. She saw him lowered from the cross, lifeless and limp. She saw him wrapped in linens, and placed in the tomb. She heard him cry out with his last breath. It just couldn't be.
But, as those painful memories played and replayed within her mind, they began to be pushed out by other memories. Blind men seeing...lame men walking...and Lazarus....oh yes...Lazarus....how could she have forgotten!?
"Rabboni!" she screamed in delight. She wept again, but this time in joy and relief. He's alive! HE's ALIVE!! They couldn't take him! They didn't win!
Waves of elation poured over her as all the pain of the last few days melted in the warmth of her savior's voice. She knew that He would never again be lifeless and cold. He had defeated the evil that had been intended for him. She wrapped him in a tight embrace, filled with the bliss of hope fulfilled.
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.