Rude Interrogatory

I try to establish timeline–

It was the spring…close to Passover

How long had you been dying?

How long had you? he retorts, not angry, incisive.

Surely I have touched a nerve, who else gets bullied for coming back from the dead?

But it is the one question he answers, the one time I hear his speaking voice–

Same as you, from the moment I was born.

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To lighten the mood

John 11:14 NIV

[14] So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead,

I tell him the questions I still have which remain unanswered, and when we are sad together I ask him about his singing voice, say I don’t worry about the faults in mine anymore

Both of us so far gone now

Past the scrim of polite society

The Waiting Room

John 11:1,3 KJV

[1] Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. [3] Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.

In the waiting room, I try to act casual, as though I have not followed him here, studied his story, combed it for gaps and terrible silence.

I prattle on about my own sodden sorrow

Unsurprisingly, he is an excellent listener.

But he holds his peace, his haunting piece, tragedy and conjecture, punctuated by improbable

Glory

Eleazar

John 11:3 KJV

[3] Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.

In my hunger I sit with him, follow him from room to room. Marvel at his silence

He does not have to tell me what we both already know, but I trail him regardless

Want something from him

Whether it is what he saw so long ago now or what he will not say

About the days of our mutual confinement

Fast

He moves up the wall quickly, ascending over three thousand vertical feet in a little over 3 hours. We all marvel at him, as well we should, that kind of hubris and fearlessness is an altar to the human spirit

Who fails to see the God who held him there

All along

I go back to Alex’s choosing the rocks over the ladies

As I count days and hours and minutes and seconds

A slow hunger crawl

All fat girl dependence not on

Finger strength and will power but the dorsal strength of a lullaby–

Little ones to him belong, they are weak when he is strong

You are greatly loved

I have a dear friend who signs notes to me you are greatly loved. Which is cool, right?

On one of my phones I have played with the tag phrase at the end of emails. I am not sure anyone needs to know I have sent this from my iPhone, but perhaps they need a Bible verse, and exhortation of some sort, or to know they are greatly loved?

Sometimes I forget it is there. Sometimes I read it and think this snarky email I am about to send needs to be edited for snark if I truly believe the recipient is greatly loved. Sometimes I acknowledge it but then delete each letter because the mayor or the police chief or the college professor or college president already thinks I am crazy as a loon and annoying and foolish as well.

The phrase itself is not the strongest iteration of the idea. It is in passive voice. The active form is just I love you, which can be the most exposed and committed utterance when rendered true.

When we love someone enough to fight for them

When we intervene on their behalf.

When we are willing to be desperate or look foolish for them.

When we are willing to be misunderstood to keep them safe.

When we go hungry for them

Or give up jobs and honors for them.

Or when we call for help on their behalf.

When we give them our voice because their voice is young or small or taken from them.

They are greatly loved because love demands fierce and extraordinary things.

…..

A few days ago I was in deep mourning thinking about the sheer number of people who have decided that either I was not good enough for love, or worse, that God was not good enough for love.

I cried over this, and opened up YouTube to pray and sing through this grief. Matthew Mole’s You are loved appeared without a search or a place on my history.

God does that. He leaves signs all around us that we are greatly loved. He sends leaves falling over us, pennies shining on the pavement, songs which feel like lullabies, setting and rising suns–all love letters with the same matchless

guarantee–

You are greatly loved.

–John 3:16