sâmbătă, 19 ianuarie 2019

J Of Nazareth

"A child?! But how?"
"You, Mary of Nazareth, have been chosen to bring God into this world, as a being of flesh and bone. Be proud and humbled, for you are blessed among women."
The young girl shivered at the sight before her: the celestial being still floated in the darkness, coating her and the room in a soft glow. He was smiling. He'd introduced himself as the archangel Gabriel, an emissary of The Lord.
But now she was not so sure. How could she be with child? She and Joseph, the man for whom she was spoken for, had hardly ever touched. He'd steal a stroke on her hand or a peck on her lips every now and then, but nothing more. How could they? She was supposed to be pure for their wedding.
Yet, this glowing angel was telling her that her womb was filled with a new life. How would she explain that to her betrothed? Would he believe her? Would he accept it? Or would he break off the engagement and seek another?
"But... but..."
The angel's smile widened and he put a hand on her shoulder:
"I know your worries. And your fears. They are only natural, as you are merely human. But fear not. Worry not. Rather rejoice in knowing that you are the mother of God."
With that, the angel disappeared, the faint glow along with him. And Mary found herself alone, in the darkness of her room, wondering whether she'd dreamed it all.
"I know, Mary. Just a little bit more", Joseph said, trying to encourage his wife but failing miserably in the face of sheer pain.
Every single one of her screams seared through his gut: it was as if he, himself, was giving birth, that's just how deeply connected he felt to her.
He'd ignored what the folks back home had said about his beloved; nearly everyone, except for Elisabeth's family, had looked down their noses at her growing belly. He didn't care. He loved Mary, trusted her, and yet when she'd come running to him and told him about the news she'd gotten from an alleged angel of the Lord, nonetheless, he'd furrowed his brows.
But he did love Mary. He trusted her. And, as it turns out, he was right to do so.
Except, at this very moment, they were in a stable, without even the minimum amenities, and his beloved wife was about to deliver a baby lying on the straw bedding of the dirt floor.
He so wished they hadn't been forced to flee.
He would have loved for their first child – it was theirs, although he hadn't touched her – to be born in the comfort of their home in Nazareth; but that had been made impossible and unsafe by a prophecy, of all things. A prophecy that had scared the king to the extent that he'd ordered that every first born be killed by armed guards. A prophecy claiming that the next ruler of Israel was about to be born-
Another blood curdling scream tore through the stable and through Joseph's thoughts. His attention quickly moved back to the woman who was agonizing on the improvized straw bed: the head of a tiny human had materialized in a pool of blood.
Joseph helped deliver the child and used a knife to cut the cord. Much to his dismay, the cord was the only appendix on the newborn's body.
"It's- it's a girl" he gasped, staring in disbelief at the screaming baby.
"What?" Mary managed, exhausted, blindly reaching her arms upwards, to hold her child.
Mechanically wrapping the girl in a cloth, Joseph placed her on the new mother's chest.
"It's a girl", he repeated, as he watched Mary's eyes lock with those of the daughter of God for the first time.
A bright-eyed Joseph watched the girl playing in front of the house. She was their entire life; he never thought he'd be capable to love another human being so much, especially one that was not even his own flesh and blood. Yet, his heart swelled every time he looked at her.
When she was born, he was shocked, true. First of all, because of the whole situation surrounding Mary's pregnancy, their flight to Bethleem and the mere fact that the child of God was a girl. In his heart, he had been certain that, should God decide to send a child of His onto this earth, it would definitely be a boy. A man.
Why else would King Herod fear the child? How could a girl ever grow to rule Judea?
Maybe the prophecy was wrong. No, it had to be wrong. Otherwise it made no sense. Too bad so many innocent little boys had been senselessly murdered because of it.
"Jeulah!" he called. "Come on over, come to papa!"
The little girl giggled and ran as fast as she could towards Joseph's open arms, as a smiling Mary watched from the doorstep of their home.
Somewhere in the back of her mind, the woman felt bad that her husband did not have an heir to pass on his craft to; he was a rather talented carpenter. But this regret was a mere afterthought.
Mary, too, had expected to deliver a baby boy.
Joseph's words when he handed her the newborn child had cut through the haze of post-delivery euphoria and through the bliss of the horrific pain finally being gone: it's a girl. That was what he'd told her. For a moment, she had felt like she should be shocked; but then, as her eyes landed on the tiny, wrinkled face that sought her scent and warmth, she knew. She knew that God was right there, in the stable, on the straw covered dirt. God was right there in her arms, and had materialized as a healthy, loud, newborn baby girl.
God could be anything. So could His daughter. One day.
“A whore!”
“She is nothing but a thief and a liar!”
On wobbling legs, Jeulah walked the path towards the Golgotha; the wooden cross on her shoulders would have been too heavy a burden even for a man, let alone for a woman. She’d fallen to her knees more than once. Yet, she somehow managed to get back up.
All the foul things the crowd was shouting her way made her cringe: she knew she’d been nothing but good. All she’d ever tried – and succeeded – was to help others. Some people even decided to leave their lives and homes behind and follow her.
Yes, some of them were men; hence, the “whore” stigma. But it hadn’t been like that – not at all.
Of course, there had been one… She should have known better than to trust him, yet she chose to believe there was some good in him, hidden somewhere.
Why will you not accept me, Jeulah? Have I not proven myself to you?’
Yes, Judas, you have; but you misunderstand my purpose. I am not here, in this world, to be a wife and bear children. I-’
You are a woman, Jeulah! That is your only purpose.’
She’d just smiled and shook her head. True, she was a woman. But that was not all she was. Not all that she was meant to be.
She, Jeulah of Nazareth was the daughter of God. Her purpose was not to bear the children of man, but to save them.
She knew that. She also knew that Judas would betray her out of sheer jealousy. Yet, she did not turn him away. It was all part of her fate. One she gracefully accepted.
The lash of a whip bit through her skin and her thoughts; she grunted and spat out the blood that had trickled from her forehead to her lips.
She was wearing a crown. One made of thorns, to mock her.
“There’s your queen!” one of the soldiers barked towards the crowd. “Aren’t you going to bow before her?”
His words only attracted more booing from the people gathered along the path.
One person stood out in the crowd. It was a woman. Draped in black, she stood tall and still, like a column carved in dark marble.
It was Mary.
She’d long since stopped crying – her tears had dried out. She wasn’t even sure she was breathing. She kept her eyes glued to her daughter, as she was being humiliated and dragged towards an agonizing death.
Was it because she was different? Was it because she was a woman?
She’d never know. The archangel who’d brought her the news of the miraculous baby had turned a deaf ear to her prayers and begging ever since.
No matter.
She, Mary of Nazareth, wife of Joseph and mother of God, knew that her daughter’s true life had not begun in that stable. And that it would not end on a cross.
Ah, yes. ‘Whore’. What is there left to say to a woman one cannot defeat? Call her a whore. A liar. A witch, maybe?
Mary looked up, to the heaven that seemed all too eager to sacrifice its own spawn for them. For humans.
She wasn’t really sure how all that worked; she wasn’t even sure she trusted the explanation Jeulah had given her; it all sounded like the rant of a mad person.
What she did trust, though, was the feeling she’d gotten when she’d held her daughter for the first time, right after hearing Joseph gasp it’s a girl.
That was when she knew.
When she knew that God could be anyone. God could even be a girl, carrying a heavy cross towards her own death. God could be a Roman soldier. God could be the woman who’d thrown herself at Jeulah’s bloody and wounded feet, wailing. God could be a tree, offering shelter and shade to an exhausted traveler. God could be a stream of water. God could be a gentle wind on a hot summer midday. God could be a ray of sun. God could be the dark cloak of the night. God could be anything.
God could be anywhere. All humans had to do was look. And let themselves feel.

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