She was covered with cuts running deep into her soul. Her face was smeared with disgrace, she reeked of vileness and impurity, and she had been bearing the weight of the “good girl” mask for too long. She couldn’t see where her life was heading, she didn’t know if anything was worth it at all.
But there He was. Hanging on that tree. Gazing at her lovingly, steadily. He had ugly gashes all over his body, too. 39 and more marring His bloody back; uncountable ones scattered all around His head where thorns from His mock crown had dug in deep; two big piercings — one for each hand; and deep, deep punctures on His feet, where nails had been driven to hold Him steadily — yet agonizingly — in place.
The smell of raw flesh wafted around her nostrils, but a stench far greater than that overtook her — the awful odour of sin. All coming from a Man who she thought had never fallen, never ever sinned.
His breathing came in raspy gasps and she knew He wouldn’t hold up for much longer. She had thought she knew the suffocating pain of breathing. But she realized all the times she had felt overwhelmed by the mere act of inhaling and exhaling were nothing compared to what He seemed to be going through.
Suddenly, He breathed His last. A few words tumbled out His mouth — she didn’t quite catch it yet — and the earth rumbled when He died.
Her hope departed along with Him.
A soldier pierced His side, making blood and water come gushing out.
He must have died of a broken heart.
For who? She thought. For me? No. He couldn’t possibly.
But she couldn’t understand why hot tears flowed down her cheeks, healing places where cuts once were, slowly ridding her of her putrid smell.
* * *
She stood face to face with a tomb. But the stone was rolled to its side. Her breath caught, not daring to believe what it all meant.
And then a Gardener approached her. He was smiling kindly, His manners were friendly, and He was looking at her with a sparkle in His eyes. She realized she knew that look. She had seen it before, in a dream, perhaps in a distant memory.
It was almost the same as the look given to her by the Man on the Cross, but the Gardener’s had a hint of victory.
Then the words she had heard the Man say suddenly came creeping back at her. They resonated in her heart and for a moment, she thought she understood. He had said, “It is finished.” Was it?
The Gardener approached her, showing her the scars in His hands.
She heard Him utter the same thing and, this time, her heart was able to grasp it more firmly.
“It is finished.”
Every cut she once had disappeared, every smear vanished, and a new fragrance took over her being. Her mask fell off, hope filled her being and suddenly she knew —
It was worth it all.