Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: RESOLUTION (01/07/16)
TITLE: A Fateful Decision
By Kon Michailidis
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He ran into the village to her parent's house. The door was open in spite of the rain. He leaned against the doorpost and hastily wiped the water off his face. " How are you Miriam?"
Miriam was stirring a pot. When she heard the voice of her beloved she looked up with a welcoming smile "Fine, Joseph. Got caught?"
"Yea, didn't see the rain coming"
He was relieved that she was alone. What he had to ask was best said without anyone else listening. It was rather delicate. Especially from a man to a woman.
"Mm... Miriam, umm... I have to ask you something."
"People are saying...um...that...um, you have not been to the mikveh for the last couple of months....Is everything all right... with...um... with you? I mean, our day of marriage is soon."
Miriam ceased stirring, and stood looking into the pot. She closed her eyes for a second, then gazed into the soft brown eyes she had grown to love. "I am with child."
Joseph stood bolt upright. "What?" You say this to may face and still look at me so innocently?
She maintained her gaze. "It is true."
"You have been unfaithful to me during our betrothal?" You? So pure and inviolable?
"No. I have been with no man."
"What? What are you saying. Are you playing with me?"
"No. I have been with no man. Ever."
He turned and trudged through the rain back to his shed. Why the blatant denial?
With his arm he sent the wood shavings off the bench to the other side of the shed and lay on it with his head on his arms. My thoughts are like a hundred sheep racing out of their pen without their shepherd.... Like a hundred arrows flying at me... Didn't she know that she would be disgraced, or even killed?...She never defied the Torah... I can't marry her now. She knows that... Why didn't she think of that?... Did she love me?.... Has there been a secret lover all along?... But I cannot bear to think these things about her?....The thought of her being publicly beaten and humiliated...No...No... I won't... There will be enough of that for her and the child for the rest of her life... I will divorce her. I won't announce it.... I just hope that no-one notices much... Yet how can they not?... And what of the child?... Whose is it?... Will it have no father? Oh I can't bear to think of that... I still care for her so much... But I cannot avoid the horrible decision...deciding her fate. Worse than any Shlomo or Moshe had to make... But it is my fate too...And so let it be.
Exhausted, he fell asleep.
An angel, larger than a man and radiating a supernatural light, filled the room. His soft but powerful voice penetrated and filled Joseph's mind.
"Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Miriam as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."*
The words had a life of their own and resonated in Joseph long after they were spoken.
Joseph awoke and raised his head. He immediately jumped to his feet, laughing. "I knew it! Deep within me I knew it! Miriam could never be untrue."
He ran out of the shed. He did not pay any attention to the torrential rain. Everything felt like a blessing. He could not reach Miriam quickly enough to hold her. Without knocking, he pushed open the door and rushed in. Miriam, grabbed a broom in both hands and pressed up hard against the wall ready to defend herself. Joseph grabbed the broom and began to laugh.
"My dearest virgin bride! God just appeared to me in a dream and told me what happened. We will be fine. We will both be fine! We will all three be fine!"
A mikveh is a place for ritual cleansing for Jewish women after menstruation or childbirth.
*Matthew 1:20-21 ESV 'Mary' changed to 'Miriam'
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