Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Mother (as in maternal parent) (04/24/08)
TITLE: Imi-lev ; My Mother Heart
By Marita Thelander
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At sixteen, she should have been betrothed before now, but her father couldn’t stand the thought of it just yet. Tonight he will allow Jonas to ask for our beautiful daughter to be his future bride. Jonas may be eager, but he has been patient and understanding.
A shiver ran through me at the memory of a dreadful, yet wonderful day four years ago. Jairus tells the story over and over again at the synagogue. I still have a difficult time believing it really happened.
My only daughter, best friend and companion had become extremely ill. I sat with her day and night and watched her slip farther away from me. One night, as I wiped her brow with a cool cloth, Jairus came into the room. My eyes pleaded with him to do something, anything.
That night, Jairus held me in his arms and whispered to me that he believed our daughter would be all right. He had made a decision. He knew the thought of losing my only daughter would likely kill me too.
At daybreak, Jairus kissed her flushed cheek and said he would return soon with the Rabbi. The one the Pharisees detested. Jesus. He didn’t care what anyone thought. We had heard about the healings that happened wherever Jesus traveled. Jairus firmly believed Jesus could heal her.
I sat beside her relentlessly. I wanted to have the faith Jairus did. Instead of faith, my heart seemed entangled in a web of fear. This became reality when the fear welled up from my heart and left a bitter taste of bile in my mouth. She stopped breathing. My precious little girl stopped breathing, and so did I. I sat there as still as I could, willing her chest to rise and fall with evidence of life.
While her heart had stopped beating, mine roared in my ears, but my mother-heart quit beating. I may have been alive, but how could I truly live without her? I remember holding her cold, lifeless hand while I waited for Jairus to return. I knew he would have received the message to not bother the Rabbi any longer. Our daughter had died.
Unaware of how long I had stared at her chest, I jumped at the sound of men’s voices shooing away the noisy mourners hovering like buzzards over a half eaten carcass. Four men entered the room with Jairus. One of them held me with his gaze. His eyes pierced me, yet they appeared loving at the same time. I could not avoid his eyes. Such power.
“Jairus, she’s dead.” I whispered the words to Jairus, yet my eyes never left the gaze of the one called Jesus. It seemed He could see straight through me. I knew He saw my mother-heart, and knew it had died with her. I may be alive, but I didn’t feel life.
Very firmly Jesus stated “She is not dead but asleep.” With gentle authority, he simply stated, “Little girl, I say to you, get up.”
My heart reeled and I felt life rush into it at the first words that came from Jesus’ mouth as He took her hand, “Little girl…”
Now I am losing my daughter again. She will become a wife soon. Giddy with excitement, she babbled on next to me as we worked side by side. Looking away from her, I wiped the tears from my cheek with the same movement she had used to push the hair off her forehead. We are very much alike. Even our mannerisms are similar.
Today, standing next to the beautiful young woman she had become, I barely whispered, “Little girl…”
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her suddenly reach to her chest. “What is it, *Ima?” She always knew when something bothered me.
Not willing to let my emotions get away from me I did not meet her questioning gaze. “You will always be my Little Girl.”
Wiping her hands, she turned to embrace me. “Oh, Imi, we are one heart, Imi-lev. How could I ever stop being your Little Girl?”
Today, my mother-heart beats fiercely within me. Yes, Imi-lev.
* Author’s note: Ima is the Hebrew word for mother. Imi : My Mother, lev : heart, and Imi-lev : my mother-heart
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