What will I do with Jesus? I will love Him!
I come here to the Garden often, but never without feeling I am on holy ground. I know some people think I'm foolish; I've been told, "Jesus is no longer in the Garden, you're wasting your time." They don't understand. I find my visits to this quiet, shaded haven refreshing and renewing. As Abraham and Jacob returned to Beth-el and found there a renewing of their covenants with God, so coming here provides a renewing of my spirit.
Jesus is my Lord and my Savior, my husband and my brother--but, mostly, Jesus is my friend. In fact, Jesus was my first friend. Shortly before I met Him, I had decided my life was worthless--less than worthless--and I would end it. Everyone I knew, everything I touched, turned to ashes. I lived in torment. Voices screamed in my head by day, and demons danced through my dreams when finally I slept. I was trapped. I knew so well the ugly face of sin with its bitterness, hatred and despair. Oh, how I wanted to die!
And then Jesus came. Not only, in my vision, was He strong and handsome, taller than King Saul must have been, a true seed of King David, but He was the first man I'd ever seen who wasn't afraid to be tender. When He held babies in his arms or touched people with His calloused carpenter hands, He was gentle as a summer breeze.
At first I merely watched from the midst of the crowds. I didn't trust men...any man. I agreed with the ancient observation that "the thoughts of a man's heart are only evil continually" and I determined not to be deceived by another one.
Occasionally, Jesus looked at me, and I knew He could see right into my soul. It frightened me, but I could never resist Him or shift my gaze. And, what amazed me even more, His eyes carried no condemnation. I sensed only that HE hurt because I did.
Early one morning, after another tormented night, I was sitting on a rock overlooking the lake. I heard a sound on the shore behind me. I think I knew who it was even before I turned. My heart began beating so hard it drowned out the sound of the waves lapping against the shore and the crying of the gulls. I wanted to run--but my legs wouldn't move. All He said was "Mary" and He touched my shoulder, and I crumpled at His feet in the sand and cried. All the agony of my life poured out in those tears. I cried 'til there was nothing left. And all that time, Jesus said nothing, did nothing. Just waited. Then He lifted me to my feet, cupped my face in His hands, and looked into my eyes.
I sensed rebuke, but I knew He wasn't rebuking me. And, one by one, my tormentors left. I don't know how to explain it, but I saw them leave, like shadows passing across the sun.
And I was free! It was wonderful! The wall around my heart shattered, and for the first time, I loved.
During the next two years I followed Him as often as I could, and through His teaching and presence, my heart over-flowed with joy.
I thought I'd die when He did. I stayed near the cross til the soldiers made me leave. I don't remember much, except pain. Pain for His mother and John, for all the disciples and Jerusalem--but, to be honest, mostly pain for me.
Those next days were a blur. I couldn't understand why He died just when I was beginning to live.
And then Sunday came.
I still smile when I remember that Resurrection Day. Of course, at the time I was terrified, but in looking back I can't believe I didn't know who He was. At the very least I should have recognized the love and acceptance in His eyes...that never changes.
So, I come here. To rest, and to remember. Pain and suffering surround us. People are dying--on the INside. Not because they want to, but, like me, they simply don't know how to live.
I still hurt, for myself and for others. I still question. But I can never doubt. No matter how black the night in my soul or looming the problems, or large the ghosts that confront me, I know that I know that I know God loves ME. And that one shaft of light will always cut through the darkness that occasionally surrounds me--and comfort me and bring me out on the other side of my pain, of my sorrow--to wholeness, to joy and to life.
Even though this was a monologue for the Lenten season, it covers the Lord in Mary's life before, during, and after the crucifixion, so I thought it would be best to post it afterwards when the rejoicing became truly "real". -- I wrote this script, but I also performed it. I have been "Mary Magdalene" a number of times over the years at churches -- and it doesn't make any difference how much I've aged. She's still herself.