C. AD 30
The eyelashes of morning fan across a blushing sky and Peter laughs with his friends over a catch of fish so bountiful that their net is too heavy to pull into the boat. The net is not as full as Peter’s heart, though—for death has become its own executioner, just as the Lord said, and there’s an empty tomb to prove it. Sorrow has turned into joy. Night has turned into day. But Peter, formerly so passionate, now doubts the warmth of his own affection. He still can’t hold his head up when he remembers what a miserable failure he was—how cowardly and blind and unfaithful. And is that a twinge of insecurity that he feels toward John, favored “baby brother” of the gang, who is (of course) the first to realize that the friendly stranger on shore is really The Resurrection and The Life? Peter, always impulsive, leaps into the water.
She’s like a little girl trapped in an old woman’s body, visibly shrinking while the cancer eats her alive (but pride and fear, she says, have robbed her more than cancer). Morphine takes the edge off. Her bed is her home and it has to be made perfectly. I sing as I work in the kitchen, to keep her company. Tears run down her face when I leave. She is curled up, facing the wall. I promise to return, but every step is agony. “I’ll see you later…” She flies away like a dove to her rest, under a big blue October sky. She doesn’t wait for me to come back. I sprinkle dirt on her coffin, thinking about my own failures and everything that might have been different. The wages of sin is death… the sting of death is sin and the strength of sin is the law… the last enemy that will be destroyed is death… O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? I get up every day and thank God for my health, singing I Know You by Heart to myself. I know what the “sting” feels like now. It feels like separation and regret.
The sky is opal. Morning steals in through a window, gilding my sheets, caressing my face like wisps of silk. It feels as if there’s been a death in the family, although there hasn’t. I hear the faint rhythm of my own heartbeat. It feels as if I am dying too, and maybe I am. Oh Father, let me go back and do the last eighteen months of my life over!
We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.”–2nd Corinthians 1:9 NKJV