With Jesus gone, our home seemed empty and cold.
Jesus died on a Friday, May 22. After he passed Mom, Dad, Little Mary and I sat in his hospital room for a few hours and then for lack of something better to do, filed out of the room and went home. Once at home I could find no comfort in the familiar surroundings. Everything looked the same but was somehow different. It was like a can of soda with no fizz. The world just seemed flat.
Mom and Dad sat in silence on the sofa in the family room, staring at the television even though it wasn’t turned on. Mom sat with her face in her hand and Dad lay against the sofa’s back with his eyes staring up at the ceiling. They both looked exhausted after a long battle.
Little Mary and I tried to play dolls in her room. I thought of how Jesus had butchered the hair of all of my dolls and used to throw my tea dishes across the room when he was two. I wish I had those dolls and those dishes. I wanted to play with them. I wanted to save everything Jesus had ever touched. But many of those things were gone and I was angry with myself for not relishing their importance.
Grand Mary came over and cooked us dinner and while we all sat down together, nobody was really interested in eating except Little Mary. Grandma told us we needed to eat to keep up our strength. Her little pep talk fell on deaf ears.
The next day mom began making funeral arrangements. They had already picked out a small casket and the thought of that made me sick. How could they go pick out a coffin while he was still alive? How do you walk into a shop, select the coffin and then go visit your son in the hospital? I thought they had given up on Jesus while he was still living. Maybe if they had more faith he would have never died? I started to blame Mom and Dad for the cancer. But it did not really matter how I felt, because Mom and Dad were not really there to receive my anger.
Mom and Dad walked around with blank faces. They hardly talked. Mom slept in bed throughout most of the day. She only dragged herself out of bed to go to the bathroom. She stopped eating with us in the dining room and then stopped eating all together. Dad began bringing her water and Fruit Loops with milk into the bedroom. Once in, he would close the door behind him. Little Mary asked me when Mom was going to wake up and I had to tell her that I did not know.
Dad tried to pretend that everything was normal. He continued to fix us the frozen dinners called Kids Cuisine or bring home Happy Meals that did not make us happy and only seemed to fill the emptiness for a few moments. They don’t fill the emptiness as much as push it away until it swings back.
Little Mary did not understand why our lives had become so different. She kept asking Dad when Jesus will come back to live with us. Dad said that Jesus was already with us, that we carry him around in our heart. Little Mary said that she didn’t want to carry Jesus around in her heart, that she wants him in the playroom so they can build towers with blocks or run toy cars around the tracks. Dad just looked down at the floor and walked away.
Little Mary also wanted to know when Mom would come out of her room. She was full of lots of questions that God couldn’t answer.
God sat in the living room most of the day, but he didn’t do much living in there. He dressed us up in the morning, brought mom a glass of juice and a piece of toast. Then he dropped us off at our classrooms and walked down to the first grade. He had to pass the classroom that Jesus would have attended had he still been alive.
At school most of the other kids looked at me as if I had the plague. As if by talking to me they might get Jesus’ cancer. I later realized that Jesus death had made everyone uncomfortable and nobody knew what to say. Nobody that was, but Jimmy Stein. Jimmy told me that he knew that Jesus could not really perform miracles. “No one named Merv could be the Son of God,” he said. I told him that we were all the children of God even his sorry little self.
After school, Dad brought us home. That’s when he warmed up our dinner in the microwave or emptied the fast-food bags. He brought mom a bowl of soup and took out the toast that might have one or two clefts in it. Each day we waited to see how much of the toast Dad brought out. On the days when it was mostly eaten we felt as though Mom might be getting better.
After dinner I attempted my homework. Dad sometimes helped but he had trouble focusing and sometimes he told me not to worry about it but I hated to bring my papers back to school without being checked.
I took care of my little sister once the sun began to set and Dad went to sit in front of the television. Only he rarely turned it on anymore. He poured himself a brown drink and sat in the dark. Sometimes, when he thought we were sleeping I could hear him cry. It was a soft, melancholy song and it made the whole house a little colder.
It had been a little over three weeks since Jesus had died and our routine had not faltered. I was tired of all the silence. I missed Jesus, but now I was also missing my Mom and Dad. I had to talk to someone. I went to Mom and she failed to move. She blinked her watery eyes and looked through me. I left her side and lay down next to Little Mary. After Little Mary fell asleep I walked out into the living room. The house was dark and God was sitting on the sofa. He was drinking his brown drink and crying; mom remained in bed.
I looked at the cup that sat on the glass coffee table. It was still full. For the last week Dad would only pour himself the drink. While he sat on the couch, he never brought the glass to his lips. After about an hour, I could hear him get up and dump the whiskey down the drain. I guess sitting down with the glass was just part of his routine.
“Dad?” I called to him.
He jumped at my words, not realizing that I had come into the room. “Oh Mary,” he said and touched my head. “Are you up again? You really should be getting some rest. Isn’t tomorrow a school day?” His sentences seemed disconnected, like individual beads strung together on a chain. He said, “To tell you the truth I kind of lost track of the days of the week. They all sort of seem the same.” I felt his fingers run through my head. I felt his warmth and realized that all along, in the middle of all the craziness, he always radiated love. It came in the gentleness of his touch, almost feminine.
“Couldn’t sleep,” I said. I leaned up against him.
“Couldn’t sleep,” he repeated. Dad let his arm fall along my back and pulled me close to him. “You know Mary, it was easier last time. I was in Heaven and I knew Jesus would be up there with me in three days. It hurt to watch him suffer but I knew we would soon be together. I was almost happy that his Crucifixion had come to pass because I had missed him so during those thirty-three years on Earth.”
“But now, it is different. I know we will be united, but something. Something very small and deep inside of me brings doubt. And that little bit of uncertainty makes the sorrow so great and the loss even greater. I guess it is that little scrape of doubt that makes us human, and our lot tougher.”
“But we have him here in our heart,” I said trying to believe it. Actually, as I spoke the words I realized that I did believe it.
“Yes we do,” God agreed. “Like Little Mary, I too long to see him in the family room. I want to watch him play with his blocks and toy cars. I want to be able to comfort him when he is frightened. I want to watch him play Little League and help him learn Algebra. I want to help with his book report on “To Kill a Mockingbird”. I know that I will never be able to do that, even with Jesus in my heart. I miss him so much. I did not know that anything could hurt so much.”
“I miss him too,” Mom said walking into the room and sitting down on the other side of me. She looked thin, but a small patch of color had returned to her eyes and cheeks. “I want to be able to touch him. I can feel Jesus. I know he is with us. How I want to touch him though,” Mom said. “I want to see his smile, hear his laugh. I keep catching glimpses of him dancing in the rain at your tenth birthday, Mary.”
“I’m sorry,” Dad whispered.
“I know it’s not your fault,” Mom reached over and rubbed Dad’s back. She let her fingers wander over his shoulders.
“I felt so helpless. Watching those doctors try all those different medicines and all I can do is watch and hope and pray. I can’t get the image out of my mind of seeing him lying in that big hospital bed, wasting away within those sheets. I just wanted to take him away from all that suffering but there was nothing I could do. Now I feel like it is all happening again. Only this time it is you whom I am losing,” Dad’s voice shook.
“I just knew from early on that I was going to lose him before I was ready. I just didn’t expect it to be this painful,” Mom explained. “I didn’t know that I was capable of feeling this…just so much sadness. It hurt so much that I thought that at any moment I might just cease to exist. Like my heart would simply refuse to go on beating. And not being able to help my little Marys, knowing that I was being so selfish focusing on my own anguish only made it worse, and the pain more unbearable. I thought like maybe if I lay still enough I might just disappear and then I would not have to deal with any of this pain.”
Little Mary walked into the room, rubbing at her eyes. She clumsily made her way across the room and climbed onto Mom’s lap.
“I’m thirsty,” Little Mary said.
Mom gave her a big hug and a kiss. Dad stood up from the couch and picked up the glass that sat on the coffee table. He dumped the brown drink into the sink and returned with a glass of water for Little Mary.
We sat on the sofa together deep into the night. A family once again, we found the strength to speak about the loss in our life. At one point the conversation changed from missing Jesus to remembering how much we loved him. Laughing together as we shared stories about how he lived his life. I knew that the sorrow was not over and that Jesus’ death would touch every day of my life. But talking about him brought some light into the darkness. And I am not sure exactly how I knew it but I just did; we would all be okay.
We would be okay because we had each other and because we carried Jesus in our hearts.
Аккорды в подборе
Bb Eb Gm7 Bbmaj9 Eb Bb Eb Jesus come be the center, Jesus we welcome You here Gm7 Eb Jesus come be the focus of all our praise Bb Eb Jesus come be the center, Jesus we honor You here Gm7 Jesus come be the focus of all our praise Eb Come and fill this place Bb Bb/D You are worthy of all our devotion Eb You are worthy of all our love Gm7 Bbmaj9 You are worthy of all our attention Eb Bb We lift You up, We lift You up in this place Bb Eb Jesus come be the promise, Jesus You are the prize Gm7 Eb Jesus are the center, our heart's delight. Bb Eb Jesus come be the promise, Jesus You are the prize Gm7 Eb Jesus are the center, our heart's delight. Cm7 Bb/D Eb You're our heart's delight Eb F Bb You make our hearts come alive.
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