Historical setting: 584 C.E. Ligugè
Here I am at the monastery visiting the place where Nic is buried. Brother August came over when he saw me here. Now Brother August remembers me from twenty years ago but even though he has heard about it, he doesn’t believe the story of my very odd gift of ever healing, even from death to life in a never-ending sameness of age. So Brother August assumes I must be someone else.
“Really, you look just like Nic’s friend, Lazarus.”
“So I have been told. And I’m named Lazarus.”
So he assumes I must be my own son. It could be a bit creepy for me to try to make a correction of that, since I suppose the shock of seeing my bloodied dead bones is seared forever onto the minds of the on-lookers of the Bordeaux tragedy.
“I’m Brother August. I journeyed with Old Nic and your father, so many years ago. I had no idea Lazarus had a child. Your father’s death was such a tragedy for all of us who knew him. I know Brother Nic visited your family’s vineyard often whenever he could. So you’ve probably known Nic since childhood.”
“I knew Old Nic well.”
Brother August yammers on in eulogy, “I know Old Nic loved children. He probably taught you to read, didn’t he? He was always taking lessons along for the children of your family.”
It’s hard for me to be silent in this wrong assumption Brother August is making especially when he assumes it was Nic who taught me to read. I catch myself weaving into all my generations a deep vein of personal pride. I learned to read and write ages ago in order to become a man in a Hebrew speaking family and in a Greek reading world. For this moment a monastery is a good place to practice silence.
I answer, “I know of his reading lessons. He was a dear friend. And I know that you are the artist who prepared this stone marker.”
“Nic told you everything didn’t he.”
“Only up to a point. He mentioned monasteries are now minding The Rule of Benedict.”
“Well, here at Ligugè we are aware, but this is a very old community so we already have our patterns. We borrowed a copy then sent it on.”
“That’s good, because what I have heard of the Rule from Brother Nic, it would probably allow no place for an artist.”
“I guess you didn’t hear everything then.”