Each day her memories grew stronger of the day she’d come back from the dead.
The sobs, first in grief, then in joy.
The declarations of praise.
The laughs of disbelief.
The gasps of amazement.
She hadn’t been able to move at first.
She felt weighted down.
Her mind was racing and she tried to remember why she was on her cot in the middle of the day.
Dizziness. Weakness. So warm.
She’d fallen to the ground and her father had placed her here on the cot.
Then – darkness.
She remembered the deep sleep, the voices of her family fading into silence.
“Jairus! The rabbi! He has not come! Tell him to come! We are losing her!”
Josefa bolted upright.
Her body vibrated.
She felt as if she had been struck by lightning.
A tingling feeling rushed from the soles of her feet to the top of her head. She looked around the room, dazed. Three men stood on one side of the room, looking at her in disbelief. One burst into laughter, seeming to be delighted at the sight of her. Another had his hands and face raised upward, his lips moving but no sound coming out.
A fourth was standing before her, hands outstretched, a peaceful expression on his face.
Suddenly her parents were clutching her to them, both taking turns to kiss her and cry. Their voices were loud, unabashedly loud, sounds she’d never heard from them before. They were always reserved, quiet, certain to look proper to the community around them.
What had happened? Why did she suddenly have so much energy when she could remember feeling so weak only moments before?
Josefa heard his voice, soft, gentle, yet firm.
“Do you not see? Your daughter is alive. Get her food, drink. She will need her strength.”
How could someone speak with such authority yet also with such love?
“Yes, of course, Rabbi.”
The voice of her father was reverent, trembling with emotion.
The water against her lips was cool as voices spoke excitedly around her.
“Praise be to God!”
The man who had told her parents to bring her food sat next to her, placed his hand on her forehead. His eyes were full of kindness, of life. When she looked at him it seemed as they were the only people in the room. She could hear only his voice, see only his eyes.
“Josefa, your life has been returned to you. Go forth and live it fully.”
His hands were warm as he cupped her face in them. He kissed her forehead then gently lifted her face to look into his.
“Do you understand?”
She nodded meekly, not sure she truly did understand, but knowing she wanted to.
The man her father had called Rabbi stood and turned to the other men in the room.
“Peter, James, John, we must leave. There are others who need us.”
Her parents took his hand, kissed it and then each cheek.
“Rabbi, how can we ever –“
His voice interrupted them, he gently shook his head, raised his hand.
“This is a gift. Treasure it. Tell no one what has happened here. This gift is for your family alone.”
Josefa could hear members of the crowd outside calling to him as he left.
“Jesus! Jesus! Are you who they say you are?”
“Tell us, Jesus. Are you truly the Messiah?”
“Jesus, your followers say you call yourself the Son of God. Who do you say you are?”
(This post was previously published, but I needed to make some changes. The story will continue in future posts.)