Chilled to the bone,
you sit in the early morning
your body and soul as cold as the stone tomb opposite
waiting for a warmth you fear
will not come with the morning.
Because the Sun has been put out
and even his body, now, has been taken from you.
Even as the light grows, and the white
shining messenger bids you stop crying
and the gardener too
disturbs your mourning,
the chill cannot be shaken.
Except by that sound:
the voice you never thought to hear again,
giving you back your name.
And suddenly, you understand:
you understand the meaning
of the dark, cold, long night
that it was for the sake of that name,
for the sake of this moment,
that you could be remade.
Teach me to rest with you,
in the fragile, slow waking
of the cold garden in the morning,
to wait there, long enough
to hear Him remake me
with the sound of my name,
uttered by the Voice
that first called forth the morning.
Your whole world has fallen apart.
You are walking away
from the City that will now forever bear the scars
of the broken shards of your dreams.
And you are returning home,
going away as fast as you can
from the women who bear the news
that rubs salt in the fresh wounds of his loss:
even his body couldnʼt rest in peace.
O you impatient ones,
whose hurt is so deep, it drives you away
before the sun reaches the height of the sky
Heʼs coming, running after you, intercepting you on the road.
You did not wait; you left before you could hear
a breathless Maryʼs cry that she had seen Him.
But he doesnʼt let you go; he doesnʼt leave you
because He promised the Father that He would not lose
one of His own.
He cuts you off, he walks with you
away from the others that still wait to see him
and he takes the wrong road, all that long afternoon
all the time that it takes
to help you see, to help you understand
and recognize him, when at the end
he breaks the bread, and sends you running back
to the others who have seen Him in your absence.
I too am impatient to stay
in the face of disappointment.
I would rather run away
remove myself as far as I can go
from the source of broken dreams
than stay and wait for Him to come
through the long, slow process
of how He brings to fulfillment
what I want in an instant.
But He comes after me, too, on my own road,
and He walks with me as long as it takes,
to send me running home.
How did you do it?
What were you thinking?
When the One Who had disappointed you
who had shattered all your hopes
the One you had planned to lay your life down for
and who hung from a Cross instead…
this One, whom your heart had cried out against in anger
in disappointed love,
“I must touch his wounds,
I must put my hand in his side…”
And then He was there, and He was giving you
everything you had asked for.
And you who in the end had not the courage
to lay down and die for him
how did you find the strength
to put your hand into that side?
to put your fingers into the nail marks
to touch those wounds…
And can you give me this courage?
when He meets me, here
in my bitter disappointments, and desperate pleas
with hands outstretched to give
exactly what I demanded
in a way I never expected to get?
Will you lift my hand and draw it into
the side that was also opened for me.
Is it possible,
after the darkest night, so much more terrible
than your worst nightmares
after witnessing what you could never have imagined
after witnessing the end of life
it feels so surreal, to be sitting here again on the shore
with the fire, and the fish, and have him asking you,
“Do you love me?”
But not only that:
“Do you love me more than anything?
More than all of this?
Would you give up yourself for me?”
He, Who knows better than anyone
that you have proved incapable of loving thus…
And yet you want to: you want to love him thus.
And all you can do is confess this want:
confess your affection.
Confess your pitiful, weak desire
that your love be all it isnʼt.
Can I say anything differently? Sitting, with you, shell shocked,
in the wreckage of all we thought we were,
how we saw ourselves,
the image of what we wanted to be
still in pieces at our feet.
“Do you love me?”
“Do you love me?”
Each time, driving deeper the desperate grief
That I cannot give what He is asking.
And then He looks on me with love, and he asks,
“Do you have an affection for me?
Do you want to love me?”
And overwhelmed in mercy, I answer with you,
“You know, Lord…”