Historical setting: 602 C.E. On the road to Châlons
This night in the straw I hear the boys talking to one another, sorting out the things they’ve seen and heard. They must assume I am asleep or that I’m not even here with them to listen to this.
Gabe speaks first, “I’m glad Papa doesn’t shave his chin.”
Greg answers, “I think Baro Dithrum shaves his chin bare like that with the fangs of his mustache hanging down to make him look like a soldier.”
“Well, he doesn’t look at all ferocious; he just looks silly with that round little knob of chin held way up high so he can hardly see over his own nose.”
“I guess he thinks it makes him look important.”
There is a moment for giggles and now I’m the subject of their whispers.
Greg starts, “Do you know why Momma calls Papa, ‘Laz?’”
Gabe knows, “It’s short for Lazarus.”
“So, why does she call him Lazarus, when everyone else calls him Ezra?”
“Because Lazarus is a weird name?”
“No, Gabe, I think it is because the monks found him dead, and when they took him to Momma she healed him so she thinks he is like the bible story Lazarus.”
In this time when no one but monks and noblemen learn to read it is good to hear them remembering the pages Ana scribed for them to learn reading even when it was a remote story about some bible guy.
Now the boys yammer on pondering the nature of death and life, and they even consider life again when their childish imaginations bring them to the odd little question – so when did Lazarus really die dead?
“Maybe he dies and just never stays dead?”
“Maybe Papa really is Lazarus.”
And they giggle themselves off to sleep and off to their children’s dreams. While I have to know that one day I will be the one who grieves for them, longing forever to have one more night with them to overhear their childish chatter. It is my strange circumstance of life and life again that leaves me always the one left grieving.
Dear God, thank you for the imaginations and dreams of the children, and for the signs and wonders that always tell us we are simply born in the image of love. Thank you for this tangible life – glimpse of love intangible, spirit of unfathomable wonder. Amen.
(Continues Tuesday, May 2, 2023)