Joy

An irritated chirping sounded from the bushes behind me. Good, I thought. Better the birds should be uneasy in this hush before dawn. I had never heard the city so quite. My chest hurts from so much weeping. I think I have poured out all my tears and yet, more come. My body aches from so much lamentation.

I seek a more comfortable position on this hard rock I chose for my night’s repose… more like a vigil, though. The chill in the fibers of my being had little to do with the chill of the night, although, it truly is unusually cold this night, too. The stars seem to have lost their luster and the moon hides its face from any who looks for it. Too many have hidden their faces from not only the moon, but from those who have murder in their hearts. It is a cold Hell and has been for several days. It is a wonder the tears on my cheeks have not frozen into trails of ice.

I tug my robe tighter across my shoulders and tuck it under me for an ever so slight a cushion. Like a sore tooth, I poke and prod at the anguish in my heart. Not one person in all of Jerusalem could half way imagine my desolation. Well, maybe Peter can. He has hidden his face, too. John, so young and his resilience stronger, is probably with him.

My life was filled with evil and torment for the most of it. Only a few brief years of respite, one might even call it happiness. Yes. I could call it happiness.

A beautiful man had crushed my tormentors, broke the shackles of bondage and set me free, cleaned me up, dusted me off and I was so deeply grateful for that. Why couldn’t those knuckleheaded priests see the Truth for what it was? Why had this terrible thing happened?

I tried once to make them see… to make them understand. They would have none of it. I was tainted. I was unclean. I was a whore. I was none of those things, but they could not see past the surface. Well… back to the Man.

His name was Jesus. Rabboni master teacher. One day I was drawing water and He walked by. Something compelled me to spit in His face. I cringe now to think of it. These tormentors who spoke things in my mind and took control over of my body screeched at Him obscene things that make my whole body blush to think of them. He just looked at me with the strangest expression. I had no idea what it meant. I had never seen compassion on anyone’s face before. I saw that same look on His face when He healed the lame and the sick and the demented. Some part of my brain registered surprise that he would look at me so when I’d just spit at Him. He spoke two words. Come out! His voice was soft, but held such authority that my tormentors flew from me. Emptiness after that.

Nothingness. The clamor was gone. The thunder ceased. The change was so abrupt I collapsed in a faint. The next thing I remember was the tenderness of His touch. He was washing my face with His robe dipped in the water I had drawn. For the first time I knew what clean meant. It had nothing to do with the removal of a bit of dirt from my face. It had everything to do with the removal of those things from my mind and a completely different path to walk.

Now look! The sky is getting a bit lighter. Not much longer now. The spices at my feet gave off a heavy, but sweet aroma. What’s this? I lost my balance. One minute I’m sitting on solid rock and the next I’ve been tossed to the ground. Oy! What is going on? My hearts stops beating along with my breath when I look to the tomb. Oh! The stone is gone!

The other women come out from their places of vigil and look at this most extraordinary sight. I cannot stop the tears from flowing. My body is wracked with sobs and I pay no attention to the two men dressed in shining clothes because the worst possible thing has happened. Jesus is gone. His body has been stolen and I cannot do this last thing for Him… to wrap Him in spices and to prepare Him for His final repose. It is too much to bear!

One asks me, “Woman why do you weep?” I fall to the earth in fear and despair.

Desperately I cry, “They have taken my Master and I do not know where they have put Him!”

One of the men said, “Why seek the living among the dead?” I paid no attention and ran from them into the garden, seeking I know not what.

A Gardner stood a short way away. Again I am asked that horrid question, “Woman why do you weep? Whom do you seek?”

I did not know that who I sought was standing right beside me. I accused Him, “Sir! You have taken Him. Tell me where You have put Him and I will take Him away.”

He says one word, “Mary,” His voice so tender and so soft and so full of authority. I knew.

How does one describe joy? What is this emotion that displaces despair? The one is death and the other is life. I can only tell you that my heart started beating again. My breathing started up again. Where there was numbness, there was life. Where there was darkness, there was Light.

He cautions me not to touch Him for He had not yet ascended to our Father. He knew I wanted Him to stay here forever so that I might love Him and serve Him and learn from Him. He tells me and the other women to go tell the disciples what we had witnessed. I had a mission! What greater joy than to be a service to Him. He could have done that Himself, yet He told us to go. We had great news and we could bear this great Joy to those closest to Him!

I ran. I could not help it. The energy surging through me had to be expended or I would burst. I knew what David’s thirtieth Psalm meant for truly, my joy had come that morning.

2 O Jehovah my God, I cried to You, and You have healed me.
3 O Jehovah, You have brought up my soul from Sheol;
You have kept me alive, from going down into the Pit.
4 Sing praises to Jehovah, O saints of His;
and give thanks to the memory of His holiness.
5 For His anger is only a moment; in His favor is life.
Weeping may endure in the evening, but joy comes in the morning.
6 And in my prosperity, I said, I shall never be moved forever.
7 O Jehovah, in Your favor You have made my strong mountain to stand;
You hid Your face; I was troubled;
8 I called to You, O Jehovah; yea, I prayed to Jehovah.
9 What profit is in my blood, in going down to the Pit?
Shall the dust praise You? Shall it tell of Your truth?
10 Hear, O Jehovah, and favor me; O Jehovah, be my helper.
11 You have turned my mourning into dancing for me;
You have loosed my sackcloth and have clothed me with gladness.
12 So my glory shall praise You, and not be quiet;
O Jehovah, my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
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