I arrived in Nazareth this evening to discover Tom had left for Bethany this morning. I’m really pleased he’s rejoining Jesus, who needs Tom’s support and ideas more than he realises. It was nice to be able to talk to Hannah on her own anyway. She’s absolutely fine, and even seemed to quite fancy the idea of going to Jerusalem for Passover next month, depending on what she would do with the kids.
I went to synagogue on my own today and felt very brave. I joined in the singing, listened to the talk, came home and started to feel restless. I’m missing Jesus. I’m missing Tom and Hannah. I’m even missing Cyrus, though I wouldn’t want to bump into him now. I’m particularly missing the mission, and I really want to see how Jesus is getting on in Judea. If it’s anything like it was here, it will certainly be exciting.
My farm is in safe hands here. I visited Matthias yesterday and we discussed the land along our boundaries. He’s happy to abide by our lease, so I’ll keep paying him rent and I’ll have to see if my workers manage to produce enough high-quality wine to make it worth my while.
So that’s it. I’ll set of for Nazareth tomorrow and stay with Tom and Hannah for a few days, and I want to see Jesus’ family too. Then I’ll head off to Bethany.
Simon arrived in Bethany late this evening with the news from Magdala. I was so pleased to hear that Mary was all right and she hadn’t lost any of her property. Not that she’ll need it soon anyway, but it was still a big relief.
Then he shocked me with an outrageous suggestion that my wife might be pregnant. I explained how she had failed to conceive despite the best efforts of man and God, and that he must be mistaken. I told him never to mention the subject to me or anyone ever again.
He also said that Tom might come and join us in the next few weeks. I really must get back on tour tomorrow and can’t hang around for Tom, but we all keep coming back here to our base in Bethany so we’ll soon find each other. I meant to get away at the start of this week but two different rich men implored me to stay and be their dinner guest, so that was Sunday and Tuesday spoken for. They both contributed generously to our funds and invited plenty of bad people to dinner who wanted their sins forgiven. I’m convinced I’m doing the right thing giving tax collectors and prostitutes a chance to join us in the new Kingdom. It’s always a little awkward when you forgive sinners during dinner, because the rich men can’t exactly move on to having sex with the prostitutes afterwards. Usually what happens is they leave early and walk the reformed prostitutes home, which is really nice.
Anyway, I’m due up at sunrise and Simon’s coming with me, so time to hide the diaries away again.
Had a long chat with Hannah today and decided to rejoin the mission next week. She was really pleased when I arrived but it wasn’t long before she started making comments about me getting under her feet around the house. I have to admit I’m bored without a job, and I’m getting increasingly curious about how things are going in Judea. The result is restlessness. I’m finally going to do some repair jobs around the house that I’ve been promising to do for ages, then I’m going to take my stash of parables, speeches and my most recent diaries with me and go to give Jesus my support for the final few weeks.
Simon left for Bethany this morning. He’ll be relieved to get out of Galilee again, and he never would have come back had it not been out of concern for Mary.
Hannah and the kids are fine. Ruth is getting more and more excited about her wedding, and I can’t yet bring myself to tell her there might be problems with paying for the wedding and the dowry. It’s not till September so there’s still time, but Daniel’s parents will soon want to see evidence that we are good for the money. If all else fails we could sell the house and try to get a job as head servants in a rich man’s household. I need to get back into employment, but I wouldn’t get a reference from my old job in Nazareth and my last employer is a fugitive from the law.
Tom left this morning. He’s a genuinely good man. He may not be a spiritual leader or a man of business, but he’s caring, thoughtful and honest. Honest enough to admit he doesn’t necessarily believe what everyone else does. Honest enough to stand out from the crowd, rather than join a group of like-minded people who all agree they stand out from the crowd. Simon went with him. He’s a good man too, if a bit too willing to use violence against those who don’t fit his definition of goodness.
My sickness has almost gone now, so next time I see Jesus he won’t need to bother me about it. He should notice the bump soon, but not for another two or three months at least. I just really hope and pray it’s not Cyrus’s. If it’s a boy and it grows up with a sense of its own importance…then either one could still be the father. I’d need to see if he wanted to save the world or do deals with it.
I hope it’s a girl. We women have a hard life unless we have a privileged background, but I’ve not done too badly. I would have to ensure I passed on my money and property to my daughter and she received a good education.
I’m seriously considering going to Jerusalem myself for the Passover. I might see if any other women want to come with me for company.
Been in Magdala over a week now and there hasn’t been any more trouble. I’m going back to Nazareth tomorrow to spend some time with Hannah, then I really must rejoin Jesus for his final trip to Jerusalem. That makes it sound like he’ll come to a bad end there or something, but all I mean is that provided the Son of Man does actually turn up on his thundercloud this time, there will be no more preaching tours ever again.
Simon will stay with us overnight and travel onward in the morning to rejoin the tour. He should find them easily enough. Admittedly there are several other teachers out there trying to build a following, but no one quite does it like Jesus.
Mary has given me a food parcel and some money to take. I said we’d be OK but she insisted, after the help I’ve given her. I didn’t expect a reward but it’s comforting to have a new patron, even if it’s only temporary.