Historical setting: A dark age in Gaul
At this waking there is no river or soaking hull and I can see dimly through a loose weave of gauze. The ceiling is beam and stucco and the house is very small. Someone is here with me, and as I move he takes notice and comes near.
“You must lie very still. And no more rowing, young fellow, until your wound is healed.”
He must believe he is aged and I am not.
“I am Dr. Neifus surgeon with the navy serving the Saxony Shore fleet, what there is of it anymore. I expect you will be here in my infirmary all the while your ship is in the ropes for repairs at the shipyard.”
“I am Lazarus, friend of Jesus, but I don’t know how I came to be at the oars of a Roman Galley. Surely I’m not a soldier.”
“You are tonsured as a monk. Perhaps your orders are holy?”
“Possibly. And I heard mention that my robes and jewels were stolen, so perhaps I am a wealthy churchman.”
“Possibly, but doubtful. You bear the muscle and sunscald of a farmer or a laborer.”
“Of course. Jesus is also a builder. I too am probably a laborer. I have no memory of it, but it makes sense. My father was wealthy but my sisters and I choose to live in empathy for the poor. As a monk I must have been clothed in poverty. I’m just sure I wasn’t robbed of jewels or robes. Probably my robber was someone more needy even than this poor monk.”
“So you also are supposing yourself a monk.”
“I do have some thoughts and maybe they are memory. I’m sure that I am Lazarus, friend of Jesus.”
“You probably don’t mean to say Jesus was a human friend of the physical substance of humanity.”
“Doctor, I know you know human substance well. And Jesus was indeed my own flesh and blood friend, killed by the Romans on the executioner’s cross.”
“Surely your mind is clouded. Perhaps Lazarus is the name of the saint you have chosen to emulate as you follow the great works of the Holy Son of the Three in One. You need to take your time in remembering.”
(Come back Tuesday, April 21)