The beginning of the trek.
She watch the the couple and the baby, saw the visitors coming and going . The pain was tremendous , her brothers and sisters so close each of them of one voice and one thought to guard the child. No longer could Sofia hear them but she saw them she wanted to be one with them but she was banned, blocked…… Rejected.
Not once did the angels show any feelings towards her, perhaps a slight glimmer when at times she was drawn too close to the baby then immediately Gabriel was there fire in his eyes and his sword in his hand he barred her way each time.
The pain of her former kind ignoring her and that of Gabriel’s looks was great but greater still was the pain she felt if , as she did at times, try to leave. So stay Sofia did.
Finally the time came for the family to leave and this was on Gabriel’s advice, he knew of Herod’s evil plan’s to slay all male baby’s of one year and younger, so as to ensure there was no other ‘King of the Jews’. The family left at dead of night and returned to Nazareth. So great was the pull that Sofia set up a home near them. So she spent the next thirty happy years watching the babe grow into a boy and then a young man. The longest time she had ever settled.
Watching him play with the toys his father, a carpenter , made for him and then learning to make them himself. Helping his mother, playing with the other village children.Some nights Sofia would sit on the hills and look down on village and feel the warmth of the child.
Then the visions began, pain,excruciating pain her hands, her feet and her forehead bled from huge holes…. what torture was this she wondered as each night she suffered . Then one day it hit her in daylight hours , she was walking with the mother to the market. The mother of the child grown now into a teenager had been happy to befriend Sofia.
Over the years Mary had grown close to Sofia. The two women bound by a love of the boy found their life’s entwined. Sofia had lived near to the family since the boy had been born. This particular morning they were headed to the market to shop , the young Jesus was already in the market square speaking forth on the word of his father……… As they approached the circle of people listening Sofia stumbled, as she fell she touched the hem of Jesus’s cloak as she stopped herself from touching him. Angels invisible to the others in the square challenged Sofia, hurt by their anger and vengeance she was rooted to the spot as pain and fear shot through her as she saw the boy grown to a man being questioned tortured and beaten, and then nailed to a cross.
Mary concerned by Sofia’s ashen face asked her what was wrong . Sofia was unable to move for the horror of her vision. Sweat poured from her head, hands and feet. As she fell to the floor Mary went to her aid only for Gabriel to step into her path. “No need to tend this woman, she is of no consequence to you. ” Sofia was again heart broken by her brother’s harsh words, broken at how she had been erased from her friends mind so swiftly simply for falling at the hem of the son of the one. But even worse she had seen the future and she new that Gabriel had seen it too for his eyes showed fear as well as disdain towards her.
Mary no longer saw Sofia, she looked straight through her friend and walked on. “Go ” said Gabriel, “tell no one of this , this is the path he must walk.” You may no longer live here, you must keep this knowledge to yourself.”
No point to argue, thought Sofia she touched Mary’s arm she meant to say farewell to her beloved friend. There was no sign in Mary’s face that showed she recognised Sofia. “Go” said Gabriel. Broken hearted and low of spirit Sofia left . She knew there was point in arguing. As she left she called to Gabriel and the voice in her head and asked asked ‘What now’.
Sofia could not bring herself to stray too far from the son of the one and so she stayed in Galilee and watched and listened to the teenager as he he began his long trek to the cross.
From a distance Sofia watched as the boy reached thirty and lead his followers around, teaching through simple stories the ways of his father( not the carpenter) .
Sofia spent hours sitting in either a cramped room in an acquaintance of the young man’s house, or on the rocks of the desert, the shade of an oasis or on the shores of the sea of Galilee . She could listen to this young man day in day out . It was not only that the truth shone out of what he said but his voice…. it was like listening to sweet music.
Time past and Sofia became a regular face in what was the crowd of followers loyal to the young man. She travelled with them she even ate with them and even on occasions when it got late and they found themselves in the middle of nowhere she slept with them. Except that she did not sleep she kept watch over the young man, weeping softly each time her knowledge of the future returned and slapped her across her face. The pain he would be feeling assailing her body and mind.
It seemed that she was allowed to follow as a disciple and none of the angels appeared to threaten her as long as she kept her distance. It hurt to think that they did not trust her, that her word was not enough to satisfy them. Yet nothing she said or did made any difference to what they thought of her.
Sofia would weep when she thought of this. One night a child who could not sleep wandered over to her side and touched her arm. “Why do you weep so sister?” the innocent asked of her, wide eyed .”Do you hurt, have you lost your most precious thing or are you afraid”
Deep inside Sofia’s soul a knife struck, not since her friendship with Mary had anyone shown care for her. She had made sure of this hiding herself from all making sure that she was overlooked. How did this child see her.
Looking at the big eyes that now were studying her she sighed and said, “I have lost all that I know and love,I am suffering such agony and knowing that an eternity of loneliness stretches out in front of me makes me very very frightened.” The little girl smiled at her, as Sofia smiled back she was sure that she could feel warmth flooding her body and a gentle calm enveloped her. The little girl turned to go back to her mother and whispered “Can I come and speak with you again ” “Yes” Sofia smiled, “yes you can” “OH! you are beautiful” beamed the child.
In the months that followed Sofia saw the child often with her mother.Like the others they followed the young man, the One, where ever he went they. Living off of what ever was given to them . There always seemed to be food enough to feed those who followed the young man. Sofia did not need food and so she always made sure that the child and her mother had hers.It was plain to Sofia that the mother was ill and suffering .
As time went on Sofia and the child nursed the mother more and more. One night as the child slept Sofia was sat talking with the mother as she always did now . The poor woman was in so much pain Sofia found she could absorb the pain share it. As they spoke the woman told her that her husband had been taken by the Romans to be part of the Circus in Rome . She had not told the child as she knew he would never return, he was taken to fight the lions.
The woman knew she was near to death and begged Sofia to look after the child Nadia. Sofia was amazed to find that she wanted this responsibility, she wanted to be with the child, to help. As she stroked the dying woman’s hair she took her pain it was again amazing, as in this instance the pain flowed through her and away not stopping to ravage her body.
Sofia saw the mother’s soul leave the pain racked body and meet with an angel who took her into his arms and bore her away without a word or a glance for Sofia. The woman, though did wave and whisper “Thank you.”
And so two years before the crucifixion Sofia took on the role of mother to Nadia.
The sky had gone unexpectedly black and there was thunder and lightening ! The woman and the child stood at the foot of the young man’s cross the child shaking with fear the woman talking beseeching as if there was someone else there. One of the Roman soldiers spat and said to no one in particular ” Who is she, she has dragged that child here, two steps behind this ‘King of the Jews ‘ since he left Pilots house.
Sofia was unaware of the weather and her surroundings she was there to support the man, the boy , the babe she had followed every step of his life. Except for his mother she was , of his followers the closest to him ….. and yet so far. The pain that had wrecked her body since that day in the market she now was sharing with the man.
She kept reaching out to touch just his foot but each time she did Gabriel or one of his brothers stepped forward to stab at her hand. She was bleeding from both hands and her shoulders, where the angry angels had struck her. She spoke softly to the man asking for his forgiveness and offering to take on all his pain. The man had looked like had weakened once or twice but each time he went to speak to her Gabriel would lash out at her causing more blood to flow.
Suddenly as if awakening from a dream she knelt down to comfort the child. “Don’t worry Nadia , remember he has taught us all that he is going to his father’s house and we too shall join him there.” The child looked into Sofia’s eyes and asked” why are you in so much pain? I don’t understand I am frightened!” Sobbing Nadia buried her head in Sofia’s cloak “why does he not listen to you, why do the others hurt you” Who” asked Sofia shocked “what others” Wiping her eyes Nadia shouted angrily. “Those men in white with swords of fire and white wings and faces of stone when they look at you” “It is a long story I shall tell you all” replied Sofia but not here not yet.
It was early afternoon in reality but it was still as black as night up on the hill at Calgary Sofia and Nadia still held their vigil the child crying for the man she had come to love who she and Sofia had shadowed faithfully over the last two years since her mother had died and she had found Sofia. Sofia though, her body shuddering in pain , she cried for the world.
A group of women approached them, among them Mary the man’s mother and Mary Magdeline a well known whore who had given up all her hard earned wealth and her work to follow the man. He had had that effect on lots of people and not only women, just look at his close twelve known as the Apostles. All fishermen from Galilee they had just up and left all to follow the young man.q
As the group arrived they embraced Sofia and Nadia. Mary thanked them for staying with her son. “He is still suffering ” said Sofia . As she spoke Mary ( the mother) looking at her that strange feeling of recollection just out of reach. Then as Sofia bent forward to kiss her on the cheek recollections flooded into her head. “Sofia” she cried “it’s you, where have you been” Taking her hand Sofia replied ” I have been either at your side or one step behind you, I never left , you just did not see me.
Sofia Told them that she must take the child away to rest , Mary held on to her hand “please do not leave me again Sofia I need you” Sofia saw Gabriel over Mary’s shoulder his look was like stone but Sofia took her gaze from him and looking into Mary’s face she promised she would stay this time and she meant it!
Leading Nadia away Sofia made her way down the hill, as she passed the lead Centurion he whispered in his ear “Give the order to stab the “King of the Jews in the side”. As they climbed down to the road Sofia heard the voice of the centurion barking out the order.