Sunday, April 5, 2015

Not in this place; Not for this reason




What in the world is happening? I am so confused and upset and angry all at the same time. How could my mentor, the one person who believed in me when no one else did, just allow himself to be murdered like that? All he had to do was say what they wanted to hear. I think he could have saved himself at any time and yet he was just quiet. This friend of mine, Joshua, who talked all the time - was just silent. He let this happen! How could he? Wasn't it just a week ago that he was everyone's hero? We had that parade and the confetti rained down on our heads as we smiled and waved to everyone! I mean, it was amazing! Was that really just a week ago? It seems like so long now.

Why do I have to be the one that goes and takes care of things now? All his closest friends ran from those mobsters afraid they would be next. I guess a simple young woman isn't much of a threat. Let's hope the mob has some sort of rule about killing innocent women... although I can't imagine that they do considering they just murdered an innocent man. Well, I am not going to go by myself. Surely my friend Marie will go with me. I mean I know it was scary, but it has been a couple of days, so hopefully things have settled down out there.

I just don't think it is fair that I have to go and take care of his body, but no one else has volunteered, and I refuse to allow it to go undone. I can't believe all of this. I just can't even swallow it all. How? Why? What in the world just happened? What am I supposed to do now? Who will be there for me? I have never felt so abandoned, and it just stirs an anger so deep within that I feel like I am going to explode. Then as suddenly as it comes, the anger turns to heartbreak and those tears I've been holding back pour out like a spillway. I can't even think straight, so maybe it is best I focus on the job I must do and not the meaning behind it. He's gone. I've got to figure out a way to accept that. I've got to move on with my life, but not without honoring him first. Joshua loved me unconditionally, so it is the least I can do.

Okay, so let me gather the supplies I have and head over to Marie's house. I am exhausted. Lack of sleep and having to walk everywhere added to the crazy few days we have had have taken their toll on me. I think the last time I ate was the day we had that big party and cooked for all of them. That was so much fun and relaxing. I love to prepare meals for my friends and see them enjoy my food. That was when they were all together in one place and in one spirit. It was such an amazing night. Marie and I stayed in the back, so we didn't disturb them and ate our small portions. We talked about the parade and all the people we saw and how perfect it all was with the streets lined with friendly faces and people who also loved Joshua as much as we did. We heard the guys in the other room with their friendly banter and competetive conversations, mixed with a word from Joshua that would silence them all. He had that way about him that many just did not understand. He was at once friend and teacher; mentor and leader. He could go fishing and join a feast during the day and say a few words that would change your life that evening. I loved him for all of it. Although our ages were not that far apart, he was like the father I never had, mixed with a big brother, and then he was someone who could look into my eyes and see what I felt and know exactly what needed to be said and done. I just can't believe he is gone. I am so mad that he did not put a stop to that nonsense on Friday; I know he could have stopped it if he wanted to. Why did he not want to? I have never seen him so helpless, and yet so strong at the same time. I have never felt more hopeless than I do now.

Oh, the supplies, I don't have everything here, but Marie has the rest. This walk is such a long walk to only be a short distance. I see her house through my tears. I am a mess. She opens the door for me and the tears start flowing freely again. She is crying too, as we cling to one another for support. I don't know how long we have been standing there, but we finally got it together. Marie gets her supplies and we pick up all the ones that I dropped when we embraced. We steel ourselves for the long walk to take care of the body and say a quick prayer that we won't be slaughtered since everyone knows Joshua was one of our closest friends.

The walk is silent. Neither of us can even form words around our thoughts at the moment. We've lost others close to us before, but it has never been so unimaginably violent. Usually when Marie and I are together we love to sing and laugh and talk, but not so much today. Just silence. I can hear my own breathing in time with our footsteps. I am trying to not think about what we are going to do; why we are walking this path that we have walked before, but never like this.

As we get near, I can't seem to stop the tears, so they slowly roll down my cheeks. I look over at my best friend and her face mirrors how I am feeling. We are tormented with this task and neither of us wants to be here;in this place, at this time, for this reason. Why does it have to be us? But, we both also do not want it to be anyone else. If we do it, at least I know it is done correctly. If nothing else, at least we can honor him this way. I just wish it didn't have to be me; didn't have to be us.

What in the world? Why is it already opened? Marie and I look at each other and run to the place where he is supposed to be. My heart is pumping out of my chest. Why would someone take his body before we could take care of it?  What kind of awful person wants to add to our pain by not allowing us to know where he is buried so we can visit his grave? These people are so hurtful and evil! I just do not understand it!How could they do this to us? There isn't even a guard anymore. I look over and Marie is sitting on a rock with her head in her hands sobbing. I am so confused- this is a scene that my mind just can't process.

Who is that walking out of the tomb? What is he doing here? I can't even tell if I know him through the dust and tears in my eyes. This man is glowing as though he is lit up from the heavens and he says to us, "Why are you looking for the living here in a grave for the dead? He has risen just like he told you he would." Suddenly it was as though time stopped and I was watching memories of Joshua's (we called him Jesus) words to all of us. He said he would be back in a little while; in three days he would rise. I guess I thought he meant something else, not actually rise fromt he dead! But he resurrected Jairius' daughter, and Lazarus, why had I even doubted he could raise himself? In my heartache, I had not even recalled that he had said the words!

Marie and I hugged now with a different tasting stream of tears rolling down our faces. We dropped everything we had brought and started back to tell the others and then through my tears, Joshua, my Jesus, was standing there in front of me! He said a simple "hello" that sounded like an echo of love that pierced my heart! We both fell to the ground and I clutched his feet and wept for joy! I knew it was him and yet couldn't believe my eyes! That voice was unmistakable though; Joshua, our Jesus was back! He told us to go and tell all the others and to meet him in Galilee so we hugged him close then ran ahead to tell them the beautiful news!

On the way, all I could think was how grateful I was to be the one chosen to be there, in that place at that time, for that reason. He is risen! He is risen!


   ~Mary



When I got up this morning, all I kept thinking about was how Mary probably did not want to do what she was charged with doing and yet she was given a front row seat the resurrection because she was obedient. Next time I am whining about being obedient to God's call because it does not seem right to me, I will go back and read these words. Happy Easter - He is risen! He is Lord!