Continued from Blew Monday
“Good morning, sleepyhead!”
I wake up and look at Jesus, startled.
Me: What time is it? Did I sleep in?
Jesus: Don’t worry about it. I turned off your alarm and got the kids ready for school myself. Your mom will pick them up.
M. Why? Are we going somewhere?
His face suddenly turns sober.
J. Yes. You remember I promised I’d help you understand why I can’t stay here with you all the time?
I nod silently, torn between excitement and dread.
J. Well, today is bring your wife to work day!
I make appreciative noises, like I’m happy about this. Yet I can’t help but notice that His smile doesn’t reach His eyes.
The wind screams through the crags of the mountains that ring our little self-sufficient village. I don’t remember ever before climbing or having been outside them. Do I?
I place my gloved hand inside his nail-scarred one as he hauls me onto a ledge beside him.
“Not much further now!” he yells.
I nod mutely, numb with cold after nearly an hour picking my way through rocks. Does he really do this six days a week? And why?
And why didn’t I find this out before we got married and had kids?
I’m embarrassed to admit the answer. Probably because I’m so selfish — and he’s such a good conversationalist — we only ever talked about me or his father.
Or maybe I suspected the truth, and was afraid to find out?
We reach a giant stone door set directly in the rock. Jesus grins and gives it a shave-and-haircut knock. Two loud thuds echo back, a little slowly. Then slowly but noiselessly, the door opens inward revealing… blackness?
Almost, but not quite. A figure like a man stands inside the door, whose clothes give off the faintest shimmer of light. He bows respectfully to Jesus, and then to me. Jesus claps him on the shoulder, then takes me by the arm to lead me down the dark tunnel.
Dark, but not silent. Snatches of heavenly music occasionally break through, as if from a great distance.
“Why are there no lights?” I whisper, though I’m not sure why.
Jesus’ voice is mischievous. “You’ll see,”
he whispers back.
And I do. The tunnel ends in a door like unto the first, with a similarly shimmering doorman.
When I pass through the doorway, my breath is taken away. Stars. Millions of them. On all sides, above and below. We must be standing on an asteroid.
I look at him with understanding. He nods. This is why the tunnel was dark: so my eyes became sensitive enough to see the dimmest stars. Deprivation increased my sensitivity…
“Is that the reason you go away? To sharpen my hunger, so I appreciate you even more when you return?”
He smiles, though even in the starlight I can see pain in his eyes. “That’s part of it. Come on, we have more to see.”
We pass through several more doors. I marvel at all the work of his hands. Primeval forests. Mighty dinosaurs. Glowing undersea creatures. On and on, each seemingly more beautiful than the last.
He gazes at me fondly as I watch a sperm and ova come together, merge, then explode in time-lapse into a cluster of cells that begins to take on a familiar shape.
“You… you are making all this?” I whisper.
He nods. “In fact, that is the child one of ours will someday marry. In ways big and small, I am always at work to create a future for our family.”
I stare wordlessly at my future son- or daughter-in-law. Jesus stands besides me, and puts an arm around my shoulder.
“So, now do you understand why I leave you?”
I don’t answer. He turns and takes my hands in his. I finally summon the strength to look into his eyes.
“I know you always want me to be honest with you. My head understands why all this work is important. But my heart would still rather be with you.”
The corners of his mouth twitch, as if he has been waiting for me to say this. Which he probably was.
“I understand completely. That’s why–“ he pauses to take a deep breath “– there is one more door.”
There is a tree.
I don’t know what I was expecting, but this wasn’t it. Though in retrospect, I shouldn’t have been surprised.
I’m not even clear how I got here. Because the tree seems to be a representation of the tunnel system we have been using. But when I gaze closer at the bubble at the very top, I realize it actually IS our village.
The tree isn’t a map. It is reality. And I, somehow, am outside it.
As is Jesus. Who is kneeling by the roots. The holes in his hands attached to… faucets.
The awful truth seizes me.
My husband, my mate, my joy.
He is mine. But not just mine.
All of creation runs on his blood.
That is why he leaves me every day.
To build the world for me and our children to inhabit.
I can’t bear this truth.
My mind reels, overwhelmed.
To be continued…