A Funeral Overdue

There’s a dead body in the road.

Cold, lifeless eyes stare blankly at the sky; she swears they peer directly at her. In accusation? In condemnation? A shadowy figure lurks next to it. Boney fingers extend toward her, blaming her for the death of the girl on the ground.

She walks forward, clutching onto the hand of her Jesus, hoping to expunge the horrific image from her thoughts. However, it dances on her eyelids with every blink. She turns her head again.

There is a dead body in the road and a finger pointed directly at her.

Breath catching in her throat, heart pumping more blood to fuel the adrenaline, she prepares to run, to forget what lies on the path behind her.

But He takes her hand. And stills her.

“The dead girl was you before you met Me,” He says.

She stares blankly at Him, understanding cascading like the tide on the shores of her mind. She turns to look at the body and figure again. The figure shows her the sins she’s committed, failings that stain her life and brand her fallen, pursuits that label her a whore.

He takes her hand then, her Jesus, and turns her to look at Him.

“I’m trying to take you forward, but you keep looking back,” He says. He then turns His attention to what is haunting her, drawing her attention back there as well. “All that he is showing you,” He begins, eyes still on the scene behind them, “belonged to her.” He points to the lifeless girl on the road. “They died when she died.” He turns her toward Himself once more. “She died when you decided to live and live abundantly in the life I offered you.” He gestures toward her. “This is how I see you: blameless, forgiven, whole.” He then points to the body, His eyes never leaving her own. “Would you really want to put that back on?”

She follows where His finger pointed. The body reeked something foul and was decomposing before her eyes. Why would she put this on again? Yet when she continues to turn back toward it and dwell on its history, she does this. The hand holding hers gives her warmth, promises to protect her and will. The hand extended from the figure next to her old body offers cold, merciless judgment. Which hand will she choose?

Squeezing the hand in hers as though for strength, she leans her head on His shoulder. “No, I don’t ever want to put that back on.” She looks up at Him then. “I can’t move forward until I cast off this past so that it can’t chain me again. Let me move forward with You, and let’s put my old self to rest in her grave.”

He smiles at her then, a brilliant smile that lights up His eyes and warms her soul. Without any effort, He quickly dismisses the figure that seemed so bold and looming just moments ago, and they lay the dead girl and all the memories of her to rest.

The dead body is no longer in the road. It is in the grave where it belongs, and the girl and her Jesus continue their walk.

featured in the April 2012 issue of MUSE Magazine

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