A thank you to Winn Collier for the prompt on this one. I don’t believe Jesus was married, but if he was a man tempted in all ways as I am, then I do believe he felt that old familiar pain (Fogelberg).
A little boy named Jesus and a little girl named Sarah became thick friends. They did everything together, like searching for beauty in the sky and pausing together to listen for doves in the morning and running in the fragrant grass. One day a group of older boys began to bully Jesus, making fun of his questionable paternity. Mary’s son began to cry, not violently but just enough to be visible to a little girl’s eyes. In a flash of devotion Sarah grabbed the first stone she saw and hurled it at the accuser causing blood and shame to redden his face. Jesus’ friend quickly chose another to throw but by then the boys had run away, one by one starting with the oldest. Jesus didn’t say a word to Sarah because sometimes little boys don’t quite know what to say to little girls. But Sarah felt happy because she knew she’d stood up for her friend, and that’s what friends do.
Not long after that day Sarah’s family moved some distance away, far enough that she and Jesus didn’t play together anymore. Both children silently mourned, as children often do. Jesus found other friends, as did Sarah. Their lives went in different directions, Jesus about his father’s business as Sarah’s childhood was devoured by wolfish men who preyed upon her loveliness. Both Jesus and Sarah became well acquainted with grief, each in their own way.
One autumn day as Jesus was guiding the people, the teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery and made her stand before the group. They said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, Moses commanded us to stone such women. What do you say?’ As the woman pushed her hair aside to clearly see her judge she began to cry, not violently but just enough to be visible to a little boy’s eyes. It was then Jesus saw her face to face. He bent low and began writing in the sand and as he wrote he spoke fierce, ‘Let the pure of hand throw first.’ Such was the fury of his declaration that the men all walked away, the older ones first followed by the younger. Jesus looked up and said, ‘Sarah, you are too gentle for this world.’ Then he stood and winced at an old ache, then went his way. Sarah walked to where Jesus had stood and she bent low. She lingered there a moment, then returned to her home by another way.
One of the older men came back that evening to fetch a cloak he’d left behind. He paused at the scene to read two words etched in dust: my friend.