Breath of Dawn

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Back in April, I wrote about how Jesus might have spent some of his unrecorded post-Resurrection time with grown-ups. Surely some of that time would also have been spent with children, whom he loved so dearly. Here’s a scene I imagine from that time:

Anna lay in bed waiting for dawn. Out on the Sea of Galilee, fishermen’s oars dipped and splashed. Anna looked across at her sleeping mother, then at the empty place where Simon used to sleep. Tears stung her eyes, but she blinked to stop them. Quietly Anna got up.  She tore off a piece of yesterday’s bread, then tiptoed out the door and down to the water’s edge.

She sat on a rock and rested her face on her knees. The sea stretched out before her, still and flat and suddenly silent.  As Anna watched, light touched the water, and she felt the breath of dawn.

“Why are you sad, little girl?” a voice asked.

Anna looked up as a stranger sat down beside her. “My little brother died,” she answered.

“I’m sorry,” the stranger said. “You must miss him very much.”

“Oh, yes,” Anna responded.  “If only he’d gotten sick while Jesus was still here, then he might have lived. But Simon died—and now Jesus is dead, too.” Anna put her head back down on her knees, muffling her face in the folds of her robe.

Gentle as the breath of dawn, the stranger put his arm around her while she cried. When her tears at last subsided, the stranger asked, “Would you share your bread with me?”

Anna handed it to him. The stranger took the bread, blessed it, and broke it in two. “Anna,” he said as he handed her half, “this is the bread of life.”

Anna looked down at the bread in her hands and back at the waiting stranger. “How did you know my name?”

“I’ve always known your name, Anna.”

Suddenly Anna realized, “I know your name, too, but I thought you were dead.”

“I was,” Jesus answered, “but I’m not anymore.”

“Will you bring Simon back from the dead, too?” Anna asked.

Slowly Jesus shook his head.  “You have the hard part, Anna, to live on without him.  But as surely as you see and touch me now, you will be with Simon again.”

Anna nodded.  Sitting there in the circle of Jesus’s love, she knew Simon was at peace. “But I still miss him.”

“Yes,” said Jesus.  “I know.”

Together they sat by the side of the sea while the moon went down behind the hills and dawn turned into day.

— Mary Lee Wile

Photo: Sea of Galilee, photo from a 1997 trip to the Holy Land

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