Jesus in the Shed, by Linda Henry

Jesus and I have an understanding. It goes back to shortly after I moved to this unassuming split-level, in this unassuming suburban neighborhood just off 35E. Okay, it was a dream. Maybe it would sound better if I said, “It came to me in a dream.”

It came to me in a dream. Jesus and I were on the run. It was The Run. He was being chased. We both knew how it would end. I just happened to be unlucky enough to be with him. Or lucky enough, I mean. Who wouldn’t be honored? Who did I think I was, Mary Magdalene? It’s not like we hung out together a lot, and this was truly a critical juncture in his life. I’m not sure how we came to be on the run together, nor why we ended up hiding in a garden shed in my neighborhood.             Every backyard around here has a shed: the place where the lawnmower and the flower pots go. Though they’re as big as many family dwellings in other parts of the world, here in the township we use them for lawn implements. It was a perfect spot for Jesus to hide from the angry mob. It might have been my yard, although at the time of the dream I was new to the neighborhood and the yard seemed not quite familiar. Maybe it was a neighbor’s place. Who was the Mexican guy mowing the lawn, so close to the shed it was a miracle he didn’t see us? And how did we get there undetected? I didn’t have to worry about these things, since it was a dream. I had more urgent matters to discuss. We were running out of time.

I reached out and touched his sleeve. “I love you, Jesus,” I began. “I really believe in what you’re doing. But I can’t watch what’s about to happen. After everything I’ve seen so far in my life, the violence, I can’t stand to watch. I’m sorry. Is that okay?”

Jesus glanced back at me.”That’s fine,” he said, his whisper infused with frustration and love. “I understand. But can you please stop talking? I’d rather be caught later than sooner.”

Yes, that makes sense.

Wait. Did Jesus just tell me to shut up?

The sound of the mower died. Suddenly we stood, Jesus and I, unafraid in the freshly cut grass. For now, we had lost the angry mob.

Oddly, we had a clear view of the freeway a half-mile away. All the cars were at a standstill. In the northbound lane, people were honking their horns and swearing at each other. They got out of their cars to give full vent to their rage, to call each other idiots and worse. Meanwhile, not a half a mile up the road, people realized that if they just turned around and headed the other direction, they wouldn’t be stuck in traffic anymore. One by one, the people who weren’t honking and swearing simply turning into the southbound lane and headed back whence they came, past the screamers and honkers. Rather than just sit there, frustrated and full of rage, they would find another way to Duluth or wherever they meant to be.

“This says something so obvious about the human struggle, doesn’t it, Jesus?” I felt proud of my epiphany, even as I searched my mind for the words to express it accurately or adequately. I turned to Jesus, standing beside me. “So revealing, isn’t it, Jesus?” He was gone.

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