after John 20: 19-25
Twin, my parents called me.
And if I am honest, or at least if you ask me in one of my so-dreadfully-frequent sombre moments, there is often a twisting sting inside when I hear the word.
Because I am a twin: I was a twin, that is, but my brother died next to me in our mother’s belly, and he was born, dead, before me. And the sound of my name ricochets that loss inside me, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, the primal shape of my identity. Desperate, devastated, disconsolate.
Yearning. My entire life has been a yearning. From beyond my conscious memories its shadow has loomed, always the yearning for someone or something to fulfil me. To make me feel whole.
I had thought Jesus might be the answer. He seemed to understand, to know, even, and still he loved me. Always he loved me. I know he loved me, and with him I began to learn to love, little by little more each day. Growing, slowly, in hope, towards wholeness.
But the horror, the horror, the horror of his death … the horror of his death stirred and provoked in me the utmost terror: chilling, elemental, abominable. Echoing. Unbearably: back, forth.
And then the others, the perfect 10, they came prattling their taunting tale of his visit, his words, his breathing on them.
Without me. Without me.
He came without waiting for me.
Why did you come when I was away?
Why could you not wait for me to be there?
Or do you want to avoid me now; would you now rather I was not one of them, one of yours?
Am I not enough after all? Am I after all too different, too dismal, too needy to belong to your circle?
How can I trust their story? How can I possibly now trust you? You more than anyone understood my longing for real encounter: my longing not only for ideas and ideals to submit to, but for reality, physical and emotional reality, all-of-me reality, where, for that ah-so-it’s-truly-true moment, and then forever after, I know that All Shall Be Well. That I have been found. That I am whole and that I am loved; and, loved, that I can love.
How can I believe unless I can see you again? Unless I can see you, see those wounds they inflicted on your poor lovely body, touch your wounds, trace your wounds with my fingers?
Look into your eyes again, and be so close again that I can feel your breath on my face?
Tell you that I love you?
After John 20: 24 + 25.
July 3rd 2019, Feast of St Thomas. “Thomas” has roots in both Hebrew and Aramaic, meaning “twin”; and “Didymus”, from the Greek with the same meaning.