Historical setting: 563 CE, in sight of Iberia
Nic asks, “So which version of God assigned me to be a patron to a scrambled minded Jew? I wonder. Am I stuck with you because God teaches us by using fierce and horrific punishments for all my innocent years of listening to a heretic priest, or are you supposed to be some kind of gift of a loving God?”
“What do you think Nic?”
Again, he answers only with his intense stare. In his mind he still searches my tattered head for horns, and what we both see of the other now are the scars. Healing as we both are, our scars will always speak of our vulnerabilities but maybe it won’t always be a loss that is measured in absent horns or traded helmet.
Now he answers with his words, “I know what I wish it were, but if we are wrong, this hot, calm sea is only the gateway to Hell.”
Nic already knows it. I don’t need to speak it in words. The old priest planted it deep in his heart. If I were to say it, it would only be so we both know it was spoken.
“Nic, we both know it already don’t we?”
“You know, Brother Lazarus, it is so much easier to jump in the soldier line and be the best of the best in the win, or die. But the Jesus unto life rules are so hard: love God, love the stranger, love the neighbor, love yourself, love your enemy … Its nearly impossible, and at the same time it’s also annoyingly insignificant in the eyes of other humankinds. There’s not even a plume of glory to hold onto, just that one ravely strand of love, the frayed thread, the remnant that is connecting me to … to what, Lazarus? To a needy Jew?”
“Yea, that and the whole universe and all the people in it, and to God and to the love of God… I would suppose, though I myself have only seen a few hundred years of healing and the love.”
The rising west wind filled the sails and brings relief from the infernal stillness but it riles the sea. We cut sharp and fast through the wave crests here with relentless rises and falls pitching our craft long and hard, until even the most seasoned of sailors are heaving and retching over the sides.
“No one lands in Hispania with a full belly.” Yes, I do have memory of coming this way before.
(Story continues Tuesday, August 4, 2020)