+JMJ+ Welcome to part 35 of A Journey, the rough draft for a work-in-progress set in New Testament times. Jonah received crushing news while imprisoned and he is not dealing with it well. Dark times are these and the dawn seems far, far away.
And now the journey continues.
A Journey – Part 35
Third Day for the Fifth Time, Tuesday
I do not think I ever slept so long before in my entire life. All of my friends–and I can no longer pretend that I do not consider them such–came to check on me at one time or another. Gaius tells me that they separately snuck into my room to see if I were still alive. “You checked for a heartbeat? So did I!” I am sorry that I caused them this anxiety. But exhausted as I was, on the third day I awoke, yelling Rachel’s name, and, to my eternal consternation, that I had dreamed I had seen the risen rabbi. I do not know which revelation stunned them more when I explained about my ordeal in the cell.
Personally, I took it for a dream until I attempted to rise up from my bed. The sharp pains I felt over every inch of my body disabused me of the idea that all of it had been a mere dream. And if that was no dream, then what that guard said about Rachel was not a dream, either. The realization hit me so hard I nearly lost consciousness again.
I was and am still convinced, however, that the vision of the risen rabbi was just that: a vision, a dream, perhaps a nightmare, nothing more. When I shared the story of my ordeal with the others, I left out most of what transpired between the figure in the dream and myself. Yes, it must have been a dream. There is no other explanation for it.
I cannot think about that now. I have to find out what has happened to my sister, where she is, and if there is any way I can bring her safely home, or– I cannot think it! All I want right now is to be sitting at table in our home, listening to her tell me her endless stories I care nothing about, or scolding me for something I have done or have failed to do. Anything, so long as I can hear her voice, or see her smile or frown, or see her beautiful eyes that change color depending on what she is wearing or her joy or anger or some other mysterious cause.
Gaius came again to my room. This time I was awake. “Jonah, we cannot remain here. Titus has left with his men. Our friends, and theirs, have returned to Jerusalem. I know, I know, seems like a bad plan to me, too, but their Master desired it and so shall it be done. But you and I need to continue to elude those who seek our destruction.”
“I am not going anywhere.”
“We will not leave right away. You may well need to rest a while longer, after what you have been through.”
“There is no need to wait for me. I have nowhere to go and no reason to go there.”
“I understand. Rest, my friend. I will return later with some food. You will need your strength. Eventually.”
Gaius left me then, to rest and brood over my many wounds, both inner and outer. My words sounded more petulant than I had intended but I was too tired to keep up any pretense of strength or courage, or politeness. Or hope. My own mind had betrayed me when I counted on it most, my lack of direction, my running to and fro had most likely cost my sister her–I will not think it!
But I must. I must face reality. I was not there for her when she needed me. I stupidly allowed myself to be caught. No, I practically begged to be caught. I may as well have stood on the street corner and screamed, “Here I am, do with me what you will!” And they did. And I surely deserved it. And worse. And worse is what they did. To me. To her…
Rachel is surely the one abused most horribly. I am alive to tell the tale. Where she is, I cannot begin to guess. One moment I am ready to swear an oath to go find her, another I am ready to crawl into a hole and pull the ground in over me. How can I find her prison when I have no idea where to seek it? Who would know? My enemies, for sure, those who want nothing more than to crush me and why? I have done nothing to them. But they think I follow someone who is dead and gone. And the only friends I have left do follow him, still. They even tell me that he has appeared to his deluded disciples many times here in Galilee. Walked with them, spoke, ate with them. And now they have returned to the one place that holds the most danger for them. Why? Because of the imagined command of what can only be a phantom, a fantasy, a fraud.
The world has gone mad. And I am going mad along with it. My dream seems more real every time I remember it. I can hear his–its–voice. I can see his–its eyes. I can feel the warmth of his–its presence, the tremendous light, the love–I have never felt love like that. As if he–it were made of love, love that moves the stars and planets.
And now I know that I am insane because none of this is possible. I have lost everything I ever cared for. And now my wretchedness is complete for I have lost even myself.
And even this loss moves me not. Oh, Rachel, my sister, blood of my blood, they have robbed you of life and robbed me of all reason for living. The color has drained from the world and all I see before me is a grey sea of sameness, all I feel, a loss too deep for sorrow.
Man’s days are as grass,
as the flower of the field so shall he flourish.
For the spirit shall pass in him,
and he shall not be:
and he shall know his place no more.
I know my place no more, Lord. Let my spirit pass and I will not be for I have failed to protect my blood kin, our legacy, and every blessing Thou hadst bestowed upon me. My soul within me withers and all my joy is ground to dust.
End of Part 35
Other parts of the story are linked on the Fiction page.
Note: The verse near the end is from Psalm 102, Douay-Rheims Bible, public domain.
Thank you for visiting and reading. Until next time, whoever and wherever you are, please stay safe and well, virtuous and holy, and remember, we are all on the journey to the heavenly city. So pick up your cross daily and follow Him, so you can become who you were meant to be: a SAINT! May the Lord bless and keep you and yours, and may His peace be always with you. +JMJ+
Image in the cover: From the east, Nazareth, Holy Land, from Wikimedia Commons, public domain.