Historical setting: Sixth Century Bordeaux
“Please trust me, August. As the stranger that I am I see only the edges of your family and can only guess at the hidden longings and losses. But this reunion isn’t about the hurts. Since you’ve been gone your good gift to make beautiful things with your hands has only become greater with the grace of God. And your closeness with God has granted you another gift as well. Even though your brothers fear your return, it is now in your power to make beautiful things with the love and understanding as God has untangled for you. The great commandment is to love all people even your own family who are sometimes the hardest to love. When you meet your family again, they will see you are a new person. Don’t be afraid.”
He argues, “Or maybe it is like you told us, when the brothers made peace with their brother Joseph who ruled Egypt, so many of their generations became slaves in Egypt until Moses set them free many years later.”
“Indeed they were chipping and stacking stones until Moses rescued them to be farmers again. But August, you are making excuses for missing the hard peace you need to create.”
“You know, Lazarus, you are only a layman and here you are lecturing me who has holy orders.”
He’s right. I offer no defense. In this pause August offers another thought. Now he slumps in penitence, “I need to untangle all this in prayer before we go to my parent’s door, don’t I?”
“Yes, of course. I’ll go tell Nic and Brother Joel not to wait supper on us.”
I return, and August is still kneeling in prayer, nearly hidden behind the ox cart. His icy sharp edge of self-defense is slightly melted to slush.
Now amidst all his gratitude he even thanks me, for allotting him time for prayer.
“I needed that moment of solitude.”
“I don’t need to hear about your private God-chat, Brother August. It is only you who is judging you.”
“And” he adds, “Shollo and Kairn, of course.”
“As you have also been measuring them. Pull your hood up. I’ll knock on the door and ask for your brothers. Wait until we are away before you pull your hood back and greet your parents.”
So I knock.
(Continues Tuesday, March 23)