Disclaimer : This is different from my other stories. And it calls for a different kind of disclaimer. So, here we go…
Please don't read this if you will be upset by the love of Jesus. If you don't like God or don't believe in him, don't read this. No one is making you continue. I wrote this because it was screaming to get out of my head. And I'm proud of it. I would love if it touched at least one heart in a way that can change a life but I'm not demanding that you believe everything. This is fictional as far as Galila and Zilla are concerned. But the way Jesus acts and loves is very real to me.
Summary: Galila was different from others. One of her best friends, Zilla, was also very different. And the love that they shared was one of the things that set them apart from others. But her other best friend taught them both that their love was what made them wonderful.
Thank you for your time. And please, enjoy the story if you have made it this far.
E-mail me with comments! firstname.lastname@example.org
And as always, thanks to Laura!!!
An Easter Story
I once was fatherless
A stranger with no hope.
Your kindness wakened me
Wakened me from my sleep.
Your love it beckons deeply
A call to come and die.
By grace now I will come
And take this life
Take your life.
I first met him when I was 10. I think he was about 16 at the time. But I will never forget that day for the rest of my life.
I was actually allowed to sit outside in a small chair in the middle of the day. You see, I usually wasn't permitted to be outside in the front yard while the sun was high in the sky. I wasn't normal. At least that's what my mother kept telling me. She constantly told me that it was because I was such a bad baby that I caught the fever that almost killed me when I was just a year old. It obviously didn't kill me but my left leg didn't work right because of it. And my mother would point that out to me on many occasions.
But it wasn't just my leg that was off. Mother said I was too happy. I didn't understand how that could be a bad thing. But she always muttered under her breath “And don't smile like that, Galila. It isn't normal.” I just felt that life needed a few more smiles. Is that so wrong?
And I guess it didn't help that my looks didn't resemble my mother's at all. She had dark brown hair while mine was blonde. Her eyes were also brown but mine were a sparking green that sometimes changed to blue. I would sometimes catch her looking at me with a confused look on her face, as if she were wondering where I came from.
Anyway, it was my leg and personality that kept me from the other villagers. I didn't know people. I didn't have friends. In fact, if I had been a little wiser on the ways of the world, I might have hated life.
But on that day that my mother let me outside, I could barely contain my excitement. As she positioned the chair I heard her mutter, “So unnatural. But this will get her out of my hair for a time. That smile is too happy for someone with a leg like that.”
But I just sat myself down, my smile on my face and prepared myself to watch the people pass. You see, our house wasn't a big house. In fact, right beside the house was a small shop my father ran before he died and then my mother took over. And because of my mother running a store and my ‘unnaturalness' we were the outcast of the village.
I sat there for what seemed like hours. And I was getting thirsty. And my leg was really starting to hurt. But the house seemed so far away and my leg hurt so bad and the sun felt so good on my face, I couldn't make myself get up. I'm sure my mother would have been surprised if she had seen my face. I wasn't smiling.
And then he walked by. I didn't know who he was. Just like I didn't know who anyone was in the village. But he stopped right at the edge of the small yard I was sitting in and looked at me.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
I blinked in shock. “What?”
He stepped closer to me and smiled. “You look so sad.”
He was tall, in my eyes. His brown hair was wavy and almost to his shoulders and his shoulders were broad and strong. I couldn't seem to speak.
“You shouldn't be sad, little one,” he continued. “You are loved.”
“Really?” I found myself asking. “By who?”
He seemed surprised by this question and paused for just a second. But then he said, “By your parents, of course.”
I shook my head. “No. My father is dead and my mother doesn't love me.”
“You are wrong, little one,” he replied. “She does love you.”
“No,” I said forcefully, something I had never done in my short life. “She doesn't. I am unnatural and wrong. I'm loved by no one.”
He knelt down in front of me, took my hand in his and looked into my green eyes. “Then I love you.”
My heart suddenly felt light and tears welled up in my eyes. “But you don't know me.”
“What's your name?”
“Galila,” I whispered, captivated by what I saw in his light brown eyes.
“My name is Jesus,” he said with a smile. “And I love you with all of my heart.”
I felt a smile form on my lips. And this smile was bigger and brighter than any before it. “Does this mean that you're my friend?”
He nodded. “Yes, it does, Galila. I am your friend.”
“I've never had a friend before!” I exclaimed.
His brown eyes seemed to grow sad for a split second but that was quickly replaced by love once more. He grinned and ruffled my blonde hair. “Well, you have one now.”
He visited me everyday after that. Mother didn't seem to mind. I guess she was glad that there was someone else that could ‘take care' of me.
One day, we were sitting outside, close to where we first met and he turned to me. “Galila.”
I looked over at him, wondering at the seriousness in his voice. “Yes?”
He gazed into my eyes and then gave a small nod. “You have a beautiful soul, little one. And there is so much love and innocence in you. Don't ever let anyone tell you differently. And know this,” he said as he took my hand. “You will meet people who will try to tell you that the love you feel is wrong. But remember that it isn't. Love is pure and wonderful, no matter what kind.”
I was confused by all that he said but nodded anyway. It wouldn't be until years later that I would finally understand it all.
She arrived in the village 3 years later. Jesus and I were best friends and talked everyday. I had heard rumors that said that the relationship that Jesus and I had wasn't natural and if we were seen with each other so much we should get married. But he was like a brother to me and marrying him just didn't seem right. In fact, anyone marrying him didn't seem right.
Anyway, I first saw her one day when I was slowly making my way to the town well. Jesus was at my side, supporting me as we walked. He was taking a break from his carpentry ( a job he learned from his father, Joseph). He took his break everyday at the same time so we could go to the well and talk together.
When I saw her I stopped. She was already at the well and was waiting her turn to fill her bucket. My heart skipped a beat and I almost fell on my face. If it hadn't been for Jesus I would have made a fool of myself by falling. But he caught me when I stumbled and gave me a questioning glance.
She was beautiful and I know I fell in love with her at that moment. But I didn't know what that feeling was. Her raven hair seemed to shine in the sun and her smile gave off a radiance of its own.
“Who is that?” I asked without taking my eyes off her.
Jesus looked and then smiled. “That's Zilla,” he said. “She and her mother moved here to live with her mother's brother after Zilla's father died.”
He then looked back at me and his smile grew wider. “Would you like to meet her?”
I frantically nodded, my eyes never leaving her.
She was two years older than me and didn't have many friends. So, she fell right in with Jesus and me. The three of us were always together. The love we all shared was unique at best but it was love.
A few years later I confessed my love to Zilla and we became tentative lovers, something that would have made my mother and her family die of shock. And in my head I was scared. The God I grew up hearing about was frightening and hateful and he frowned upon such love. But when we told Jesus of our love for each other and our concerns he just smiled.
“Galia, Zilla,” he said as he took our hands. “God loves all who love him. And why would God give you to each other if he thought that your love was bad?”
That made sense to me.
“But the teachings-“ Zilla began.
Jesus shook his head. “Are not all right. My Father loves the two of you so much.”
“Your Father?” I asked, deeply confused. To me, God had always been an unseen power that struck people down just for saying the wrong thing.
Jesus studied me. I was 17 at the time and he was 23, a mature man. He seemed wise beyond his years and everything he said to me always made sense.
“Galila,” he began. “I love you like a sister and it breaks my heart that you doubt love that is freely given.”
“But I don't,” I protested. “I don't doubt your love. Or Zilla's!” I squeezed my love's hand as if to emphasize this point.
“And the love of God?”
“I-I don't know.” I wasn't as sure of that.
Jesus put his hands on my shoulders. “Does your leg still bother you?”
I blinked at the change of subject but slowly nodded. “You know it does.”
He nodded and slowly sat me down in a chair he had just finished making. “Let me show you how much God loves you, little one.”
He then ran his hands down my left leg, something that could be seen as very inappropriate. “Now, stand.”
I did, expecting that usual stab of pain that came from doing such a task. But there was no pain. There was no pinching or stabbing. I felt my eyes widen and I looked down at my leg, expecting to see the gnarled mess that usually greeted my sight when I would occasionally look down. Instead, my leg looked normal.
I took a step on the leg. Again, there was no pain. Nothing hurt.
I looked up at Zilla. Her blue eyes were wide in shock but a smile lit up her face.
“Galila,” she whispered. “You can walk!!”
I looked over at Jesus, whose smile seemed to light up the room. “The love of God is an amazing thing, Galila.”
“God is my Father,” he said simply.
There was a long pause in the room. The only sound was the sound of settling wood. Finally I spoke…
“But that would mean that,” I began.
“You are the Messiah,” Zilla finished.
Jesus left the village a few years later. We would get word occasionally about his great deeds and miracles. I longed to see him again but he never really stayed in one place for too long.
But one year, Zilla and I decided to meet up with Jesus in Jerusalem for Passover. My mother had been dead for three years and Zilla's uncle had just died. We both needed to get away from the village, it was driving us crazy.
The day we walked into Jerusalem is another day I will never forget. There were people every where. And I kept hearing Jesus' name being said. But I could never hear what was being said about him. And that made me nervous.
The night before Passover, Jesus showed up at the inn we were staying at.
After we all hugged and greeted each other we went up to our room and talked. He told us that he was spending the Passover feast with a group of his friends so he wouldn't be able to be with us. So, he wanted to spend time with us now.
He had a very sad look about him. Like he was dreading the next day for some reason. That didn't make sense at all, since the Passover Feast celebrated his Father and the good he did for our people in Egypt . And when I asked him about it, Jesus just looked into my eyes and took my hand.
“Little One, I am very sad.”
“But why, Jesus?”
He sighed. “I am going to have to leave you and Zilla alone.”
I shook my head and looked over at my love, confused beyond words.
“We don't understand,” Zilla said softly, putting her hand on Jesus' shoulder.
He looked down at the floor and sighed again. “My Father is calling me home, my friends.”
“You mean-“ I cut myself off. It couldn't mean what I thought!
But Jesus nodded.
“No!” I shouted, anger filling my voice. “You can't!” I stood up from the bed I was sitting on. Both Zilla and Jesus looked up in shock at my tone. “Say no, Jesus! Say you won't die!”
He shook his head. “I can't, little one. Father is calling me and I must do this.”
“NO!” I screamed again. “You have a choice! You can't die!!!”
He just stood up, his head still drooping towards the floor.
“Don't let him control you like this!” I continued. “Don't be a coward! Stand up to him!”
He then looked up and the pain and hurt I saw in his eyes stabbed me through the heart like a sword. “I can't, Galila. I can't.” He turned to leave, his shoulders low, like he was carrying the weight of the world on them.
I felt Zilla stand up beside me and place her hand on my back. “Galila, please,” she whispered.
I knew what she meant. I couldn't let him leave with my anger still between us. She had always been one that could control my temper. Jesus was the other one.
“Jesus,” I said softly.
He turned to look at me.
“I'm sorry,” I muttered as I took a step toward him.
He nodded. “I forgive you, Galila. But please understand. This is my Father's plan. It will save everyone.”
I pulled him into my arms and hugged him tight. “I don't understand, my friend. But I will let you do what you think is right. But only because I love you so very much.” I pulled away from the hug and looked him in the eyes. “And because you brought so much light into my life. And I must thank you for that.”
He smiled a sad smile.
“You are the light of my world, Jesus,” I said. “You showed me that love can be given freely. It's because of you and God that I have Zilla in my life and it's because of you and God that I can walk without pain. If God is so intent on having you up there with him, then so be it. But we will miss you terribly.”
He left that night looking so sad and dejected. I cried in Zilla's arms all night. Passover was a somber affair. And the day after was horrible.
He had been arrested. And beaten. And was to be crucified.
As I stood there with Zilla at my back, her arms around me holding me up, and watched them nailing him to the cross I felt my heart break. He didn't cry out. But I could see the pain on his face. And the blood that ran out of his hands and feet. And the crown of thorns the Romans made for him that clung to his head like a life sucking leech. His body seemed drenched in blood. He didn't look like my best friend. He didn't look like the young man I grew to love like an older brother. He didn't look like a man that could make the blind see or the deaf hear. He looked like a criminal, hung up on that cross on that hilltop, drenched in blood.
But he wasn't a criminal. He wasn't just a man. He was the Son of God. And my best friend.
I watched him die. I saw him take his last breath. I couldn't leave him. Even when it started raining, I stayed. And wept. His mother was there as well. I almost went to her but something stopped me. I don't know what. Maybe it was the knowledge that I couldn't do anything to ease her pain. Her son had just been crucified like a common criminal. He had been beaten and humiliated by his own people. What can one say to that?
As his last breath left his body, a loud clap of thunder shook the earth. And my heart shattered. I turned in Zilla's arms and cried into her chest, taking comfort in her loving arms. The rain soaked my clothes and hair but it didn't matter. Nothing mattered. Jesus was dead.
The buried him in a tomb outside of town. We went back to the inn. I didn't have the energy to leave the room for two days. And Zilla seemed to feel the same way. She never cried in front of me but one night I woke up to her sobbing into her pillow. I just pulled her into my arms and comforted her as best I could. But again, what could I say?
About mid-morning on the third day after he died someone knocked on our door. When Zilla answered it we were both surprised to see his mother standing there with a smile on her face.
“Mary?” Zilla asked.
“Zilla, Galila,” she said with a nod. “He told me you were here.”
“Who did?” I asked, getting up from the table in our room we were eating at. No one had known we were in the city but Jesus.
“Oh,” I muttered, thinking that he must have said something to her before he died.
Both our heads shot up at that comment.
“What?” we said at the same time.
Mary then went on to tell us about the empty tomb. And about the appearance of the angels. And then, seeing Jesus himself.
“He's alive?” I whispered. “How can that be?”
“It's true,” a voice said behind Mary.
And there he stood, seeming to appear out of thin air. He was in a white robe, barefoot, and blood free. But the holes in his hands and feet were testimony to what he had been through.
“Jesus?” I barely got out.
He nodded. “It's me, Galila.” He smiled at me and then at Zilla.
“How?” I asked again, too shocked to move.
“I have come to open the way for my people, so that all may know the power and glory of my Father.”
I took a step towards him but he held up a hand to stop me. “You cannot touch me, little one. I have not ascended to my Father. That will come in time. But I wanted to see the both of you before I left.”
I covered my mouth with my hand to stop the joyful sob that threatened to break forth. I felt Zilla put her arm around me and I quickly put both arms around her.
“You will both see me again in the kingdom of my Father. And remember, your love is pure and wonderful. And may no one tell you differently.”
And he disappeared.
We never saw him again in our life.
When we finally returned to our home we found that our fellow villagers, including Zilla's own family, had turned against us and were proclaiming that Zilla and I were unnatural and so was our relationship. I felt Jesus beside us. And I felt his hand on my shoulder when the first stone was thrown. I felt his arms cover me as I fell to the ground. And as I looked into Zilla's beautiful blue eyes for the last time, my body wracked with pain and blood running down her face, I saw him. And he smiled at me. And welcomed me and Zilla home.
Into Marvelous Light I'm running.
Out of darkness out of shame.
By the cross You are the Truth
You are the Light, You are the Way.
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