07 April 2007

Good Friday

We watched the villagers dance. I did not know what they celebrated, but I was captivated by the ebb and flow of the chant, the pounding rhythms of the drums, and the writhing silhouettes before the fire.

I felt like I was in a National Geographic documentary. I sat on the ground, drinking beer. Nwargo sat next to me, his healing leg propped up. His rehab is going well. I estimate the recovery will be complete, but for the next year, he should limit himself to "light duty." Perhaps there is a desk job for him somewhere. But where is safe? I cannot stay with him forever... I feel an obligation to protect him, but is he not more than capable of fending for himself? I feel like a parent watching a child move out.

Nwargo interrupted my thoughts. "Go to them and dance my friend."

"I can't. I can't. My heart is too heavy."

"Death is in your head again?"

"How can it not be? It is my job."

"But life is your job as well. You saved mine."

"And put it at risk."

Nwargo sighed. He looked back towards the dancers and an odd smile appeared on his face. "Will you dance if I tell you they are dancing to celebrate a funeral?"

Such goading! "I do not celebrate death! I do not love death! I mete out justice! There are men and women who do not deserve to walk this Earth! I clean the Earth! I am a cleanser!" I realized, somewhat embarrassed that I was shouting, although no one noticed. Still, Nwargo had piqued my curiosity. "Whose death?"

Nwargo looked at the ground then smiled at me and winked, "Jesus'. Today is Good Friday my friend."

I turned my gaze out to the fire, nodded and finished another beer. "So, do they celebrate Jesus' death, or the 'death of Death?'"

"I think the second, my friend. The first was merely a tragic necessity."

"A necessity? Why should an omnipotent being need to sacrifice His son to 'conquer' Death? Would you sacrifice your least favorite child? For what would you make that exchange?" I was shouting again.

"You are troubled, my friend, by mysteries that man has contemplated for many hundred years." He paused, and his face became stern. "If you continue, I shall not recite the Easter speech from Goethe's Faust with you on Sunday."

I laughed. "Your German is terrible, Nwargo. Please promise me you will spare me the recital."

Nwargo laughed and handed me another beer.

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