Love is Like This

Though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus,
               after having heard that Lazarus was ill,
              he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. …
         Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here,
              my brother would not have died. …
         Some said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man
                have kept this man from dying?” …
         Jesus wept.

                           —John 11.5, 21, 37, 35

Jesus hears the news, silent,
and stands by the window.
He feels the urge rise in him,
the wave of entitlement.
He remembers the desert,
the lure of magical powers,
the world in his hands,
the longing to be able to fall without hurt.
He feels the hunger to be exempt
from sorrow, from powerlessness, from death.
Which is to be exempt from life.
He would not choose that,
for himself or his beloved.

Only in the deepest love does he release his friend
from his own desires,
into the fragile craft that is life.
Love is like this, and worse:
the surrender, the pain, the hands pierced and empty.
He sits, for two days.
He enters the tomb
of his own broken heart.

And on the third day he rises.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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