"What is it, Yeshua?" she asked.
I swallowed. I felt my voice would be too big for me if I tried to say it, yet say it I did.
"Only what everyone has to learn," I said. "I don't know why I didn't see it before." The man on the stones. The lamb. The children. I looked at her.
"Tell me," she said.
"Yes!" I whispered. "Why didn't I see it?"
"Tell me," she said.
"It's so simple. It won't mean anything to you until it comes to you, no matter who you are."
"I want to know," she said.
"It's this. That whatever is born into this world, no matter how, and for whatever reason, is born to die."
She didn't answer.
I stood up. I went outside. It was getting dark. I walked through the street and out to the hillside and up to where the grass was soft and undisturbed. This was my favourite place, just short of the grove of trees near which I loved so to rest.
I looked up at the first few stars coming through the twilight.
Born to die, I thought. Yes, born to die. Why else would I be born of a woman? Why else would I be flesh and blood if it wasn't to die? The pain was so terrible I didn't think I could bear it. I would go home crying if I didn't stop thinking of it. But no, that must not happen. No, never again.
And when will the angels come to me with such bright light that I am not afraid of it? When will the angels fill up the sky with singing so that I can see them? When will angels come to me in my dreams?
A quiet fell over me, just when I thought my heart would burst.
The answer came as if from the earth itself, as if from the stars, and the soft grass, and the nearby trees, and the purring of the evening.
I wasn't sent here to find angels! I wasn't sent here to dream of them. I wasn't sent here to hear them sing! I was sent here to be alive. To breathe and sweat and thirst and sometimes cry.
And everything that happened to me, everything both great and small, was something I had to learn! There was room for it in the infinite mind of the Lord and I had to seek the lesson in it, no matter how hard it was to find.
I almost laughed.
It was so simple, so beautiful. If only I could keep it in my mind, this understanding, this moment - never forget it as one day followed another, never forget it no matter what happened, never forget it no matter what came to pass.
Oh, yes, I would grow up, and there would come a time when I would leave Nazareth, surely. I would go out into the world and do what I was meant to do. Yes. But for now? All was clear. My fear was gone.
It seemed the whole world was holding me. Why had I ever thought I was alone? I was in the embrace of the earth, of those who loved me no matter what they thought or understood, of the very stars.
"Father," I said. "I am your child."
- Anne Rice
Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt
(also published at the sectionblog)