Peace like he couldn’t have imagined. His soul felt at rest, like all was well now. The glow whispered over his skin, soft, radiant. The luminescence had substance—light that wrapped around him, incandescence that carried him along the journey.
His long fight against the illness had ended. He’d crossed over to Elysium and now the distant struggle was like a once vivid dream faded to dissipating wisps of nothing in the first seconds of wakefulness. Perhaps that existence had been real, but now its edges were blurring faster than he could form the memory of suffering.
Light compelled him along, moving him through realms he’d never seen yet felt natural, so comfortable, like returning home after a long absence.
He recognized the presence with him, a familiar loved one, a cherished friend, but so much more than who he knew the presence to be. He was called by name and greeted, by the presence and by many. Multitudes of countenances gathered around him. Somehow he knew them all, both always cherished and newly loved. The light held them all together as one, though still individuals. Connected by power beyond his experience. They dwelled, they rejoiced, communed. If only he’d known, he would have passed through the curtain sooner, not futilely clinging to what he thought was living.
With a hollow gaze, her sister caught her attention across the crowded room. Her red face was swollen, her eyes gleaming from the weeping that wouldn’t stop. Deeply-felt tears, a flow of loss that was real, not like the show of grief by the mourners packed into the house to console them. Her sister waved her over to the door where she’d just come in. “He’s here. He wants to see you.” She fled the stifling house. She couldn’t get to him fast enough.
When she saw him, she collapsed in grief. “Why didn’t you come?” she wailed. “You could have done something. You could have saved him!”
“Where is he?” he snapped. She wondered if she’d angered him, or it was just his emotions. She took him to the tomb so he could mourn with everyone else there, including her sister now. He cried and fumed. “Open it up,” he commanded. Her sister shrieked, “No! It’s been too long.” But he insisted, and they did. He called out to their brother to come out.
The light was ripped away from him, the loved ones around him shrunk into the distance while he was sucked through the dimensions, back down, back in, taking on weight, on the corporeal sensations he’d forgotten. He sat up, then walked to the opening where the sunlight shined.
Outside his friend stood, waiting for him. While walking toward him, he jerked off the strips of cloth on his head, hands, legs. He felt sadness, fury, disappointment.
“Jesus,” Lazarus moaned. “Why did you do that? I was so happy. It was so good!”
Jesus made an apologetic shrug. And tears flowed from his eyes.
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