The Day I Left the Tomb

A Dramatic Re-Imagining of the Story of Lazarus

“It’s dark!” I yell. “I can’t see anything and I’m scared.” How am I supposed to live like this – stumbling around in the pitch-black night? Everyone will expect me to smile, to put on a brave face, and exclaim that I’m back, alive. But it’s dark. I’m alive, it’s true, but who is here to see it? I gaze through the darkness and wonder if this is all there is for me on this earth. Maybe other people, more worthy people, are meant to live in the light with joyful hearts and sun-kissed faces. But for me, just being alive is enough. I’m grateful and living, but am I really alive?

“Come out!” a strong, clear voice bellows through the silence.

Is he talking to me? Is he sure that I belong out there, after all this time in the dark? The truth is that I’m not even sure I know my way out anymore.

“Come out!” the voice calls out again, steady and insistent.

I wonder what it’s like out there, and the voice sounds inviting, but I’m fine, really. Who knows what trials await outside? It’s safer here; I know this darkness well.

“Come out!”

That voice—that infuriating, lovely voice. It’s awakened something within me that has been hibernating deep in my soul, something that beckons me closer to that distant pin prick of light. Could it be that the light is meant for me, too?

“Come out!”

I take a tentative breath and step forward, shuffling the rags on my feet that have been there so long that I’d almost forgotten they were there. I want to know what’s out there—I want to see again. This could hurt, but I have to believe that it will be worth it, that joy will come of these little shuffling steps.

“Here I am,” I utter meekly.

The sun almost blinds me, though it’s only peeking through the clouds. There are people all around, watching my squinty eyes. At first they stare in amazement, then they smile and I realize that I’m smiling, too. I look around, happy to be back among these sun-kissed faces, then I lock eyes with him and nothing else matters. I tear up because his face is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It’s positively radiant; I know he is the owner of the strong, clear, steady, insistent, infuriating, lovely voice. What can I possibly say to the one who not only gave me a second animating breath, but the unquenchable feeling of being fully alive? As I rack my brain, I hear that glorious voice again, this time soft and compassionate.

“Take off those grave clothes, they have no place here. You once were dead, but now you live! Besides, I have something much better for you.”

I slowly shuck off the layers of dingy bandages and feel the grass beneath my feet, the wind blowing gently across my face and hands. He walks over slowly and carefully slips something over my head. The material is soft as silk, light and airy. I look down and see a stunning array of light purple violets cascading across the front of a simple and elegant white shift. I look up again and all I can muster is a simple “Thank you, it’s perfect.”

He smiles because he knows. I stretch out both my arms, lift my face, and laugh for the pure joy of it. Another breeze comes and it dances around me and my violets. I breathe it in and let it fill me; I breathe it out and I am ALIVE.


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