This is technically my fourteenth paper for my Gospel of Mark class, but it’s definitely not a formal paper. Half of me was tired of writing basic papers, and the other half of me couldn’t come up with anything original to say about Mark 14 that hadn’t already been said. So I decided to push the envelope and write a short story instead. Thankfully I had a professor who welcomed creativity (don’t try this at home, kids). I hope you enjoy it, too. 🙂
You truly don’t notice it until it’s gone.
In the moment of black panic, you can only feel the animalistic throb of adrenaline as every nerve in your being fights for life. That’s the cruel irony in it: Your body is so desperate to escape death that it willingly casts your Spirit into the jaws of the same lion. It isn’t until the danger is past and the animal returns to its slumber that you smell the blood seeping from your torn Soul.
I don’t suppose I could describe it for you if you’ve never had it and lost it. It is like having your breath taken away, but not all at once. Just a little, just enough, that you feel short of breath but don’t know why. It’s as if you exhale and can never inhale the same amount of air again. Your heart tenses, yet none of your nerves follow suit. You instinctively reach for your cloak, even though you couldn’t rightly say, if pressed, that you felt cold. You just feel lack.
That is how I felt after it happened. When people asked me years later, I still said the same thing. I lacked, and I knew exactly why.
They would ask me also if I thought of Him while I was doing it. Did I see His face in my mind, hear His voice in my head? Such poetic euphemisms for what they really want to ask: Did you feel guilty?
The truth is—no. The thought of Him never made me feel guilty. Ashamed, yes, but shame is a master, not a demon. Still, I spent many long months wondering if I ought to have felt guilt—for I certainly had plenty of it to bear. But then I realized something I probably ought to have recognized about Him a long time ago: He never made me feel guilty. His presence, His voice, even His corrections. Never once did He cast guilt, even while laying down judgment in the same breath. It was as if guilt was a language He didn’t speak, a black market we humans traded in, but one in which He refused to deal.
But the truth was that I really wasn’t thinking about Him at all. It seems so obvious now, in bitter hindsight—my every move, my every thought, and especially every hasty word—was a panicked grab for safety, security. My only emotion was fear, my only instinct survival. I was only thinking about myself.
I suppose it’s no surprise that, after it was over and I came to myself as one waking from drunkenness, my first thought was again for myself. Such a deficit He leaves when He departs, that all I could think of was how cold I felt, how alone, how lost, how weak, how terrified. All I wanted in that moment was to have Him back, yes, but not because I was repentant. It was only because I suffered for the void His Spirit had left.
Repentance would come, of course, but when one has become the fulfillment of their own prophecy, one realizes that there are certain things that can never be repented of.
Three times, He said. Three times, I did. Three oaths I can never recant, a prophecy I can never undo.