Dawn, gray and silent. Raindrops are so tiny they don’t really fall, they just seem to be waiting around. I breathe them as I move silently down the deserted street. Silent. Everything is so quiet. I must be walking, but I don’t hear my footsteps. There is a sadness that waits around in the air, too. Has someone died? I think a dear friend has died, but I don’t know who, and I don’t feel sad enough. But something is gone. Something very important is missing this morning.
No clear memory will come of the night, but in the silence I think my ears hold faint echoes of a clamor. Is it a voice of the night? Is it the voice that has died? It must be. The peace I feel this morning is the more surprising with the memory of that voice. The voice was my tormenter, my stalker. Yes, it was a close companion that has died. My pursuer, my accuser is dead. The one who made me a fugitive. I cannot remember not running from him, not fearing him, not hiding from him. He sought my life, and in his relentless seeking took it all from me.
But now I live and he is gone. Why do I feel this sadness and joy at once? I am dazed. I don’t understand what it means to be free, to live without the spectre of that hound on my heels. I am not running anymore. I am just walking down the street in the daylight and I don’t even glance over my shoulder. Freedom is so strange. I realize that I have never felt it before and for a while I don’t know that it is real. I am noticing what is missing, not what is new. And still I grieve, I think.
My enemy is gone. Never to trouble me again. Elation is stirring inside me. I feel no animosity toward this one who has always made me miserable. Why don’t I hate him? He is powerless now, completely deflated in death, ultimately weak. I pity him. I take no delight in his death, though it means life for me. The one I despised and dreaded is just a memory this morning, just a faint echo.
Hope. Hope is something I have not known. It is unfamiliar, yet I am sure this is what I feel now. All of my thoughts and energy and strength and attention once were held in his hands. He wore me down so, but all of that is past, suddenly over forever. Yesterday, I did not imagine or anticipate any of this. In one night, all is changed and the meaning of this change is slowly dawning with the day.
This new life will be without panic, without urgency, without terror. I feel like this misty day will last forever. Time, so much time. It will take time to find out what has happened and what can happen now. Now I have time.
I didn’t kill him. I am not a suspect. I am no longer a fugitive. Now I can see that others are moving about in this fog, yet they pay no attention to me. The morning seems ordinary for them. I don’t think they know about his death. Maybe they know and they don’t care. They don’t notice me as I float among them. They are right here, yet so far away. The scene is ethereal. No, I think I am ethereal. Am I a ghost, a phantom? Why is noone afraid of me?
I think it is true – I am the one who died. My own worst enemy. All of my failures and crimes, all of their accusations and rejections, these things are gone with me. I am no more, so I have no fear of what might come. Why don’t I feel dead? I feel very much alive, more alive than I have every imagined feeling. I move lightly, my feet do not drag. Do I even have feet? Yes, I am perfectly normal. These people can see me, but they don’t see anything unusual and they barely notice. I slip through their world like an invisible man, yet I am visible. They just don’t see the man that is gone.
He has slipped away, escaped the noose, flown the coop. He cannot be recaptured, for he is gone. Nothing to capture. He and I are no longer one. My dear friend, my tormentor, my savior, all have died. And I live.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)