Today’s short story is based on the Scripture: “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.” - John 19:25-27 and also: “When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind.’” - Mark 3:21
Yesterday the Romans had crucified his brother. It was inevitable, and he had warned his brother that more than once. But did he listen to him? Did Jesus ever listen to him? No. He had his own ideas, even if they went against everything the experts in the law taught. James was one of the most praised young pharisees in the city. He was always the most spiritual one in the family. His older brother, by contrast was a common tradesman. After the death of their father it was Jesus who took the role of bread-winner, and to his credit, it was Jesus who had paid for James’ studies. But nonetheless, he was still just a carpenter.
However, all that changed three years ago, like a whirlwind, and nothing had been the same since.
Now this. The end of a long process of insanity. A dead brother, a mother who had half lost her mind in grief, and six siblings left at home trying to make sense of why their mother was not with them. James was now the head of the family, and it was his responsibility to bring order back into their household. But how to do that when his mother wouldn’t return home. She still clung to her false hopes her illegitimate son was somehow something greater, something divine. Yet now, she had to deal with the truth, that all he said was a lie, and that lie led him to his grave.
He knelt next to the bed his mother was lying in, and tried to talk sense into her.
“Mother, I understand you pain. He was your first-born son, but your others sons . . . we are still here. Come back home mother, so we can look after you.”
Mary wept. She rolled over in her bed and continued to sob. She had not stopped weeping since she watched her son crucified. James turned to the wife of Zebedee who was standing by the door.
“Why is my mother staying here with your family? She should be with her real family!”
The wife of Zebeddee was speechless. James maintained his gaze towards her, not satisfied to leave without an answer. Finally she replied, “It was the dying request of our Lord, we are only providing for her as he asked.”
“Your Lord?” James interjected with disgust. “How dare you blaspheme God!” James walked across to the wife of Zebedee, speaking in a whisper so his mother could not hear, he said, “My brother was not a devil as my many of our leaders have charged him to be, but he was out of his mind, and his delusions cost him his life.”
James once again turned back to speak to his mother. He pleaded for her to return home. Mary remained curled up in bed, facing the wall. After some time James conceded that she was too weak with anguish to reason correctly. He walked to the door, and prepared himself to return to his brothers who were waiting anxiously at home. Before he left he leaned over and asked to the wife of Zebedee: “Do you now want my mother to also die from a delusion and a broken heart? She should be with me, her son, her real son . . . Or do you really believe that your son John is now more or a son to her that I am?