Exodus

Here is something I discovered while trolling my old computer files recently.  It’s something I wrote about 10 years ago.  I think I could make it better.. and one day I might.  For now, enjoy this blast from my past.

Exodus (Child’s Perspective)

I hated it…  it used to be so much fun, the best time of the day.

As the sun was setting and the sky full of the most amazing colours – Mommy and Daddy would come home – walking with clusters of their friends (parents of my friends) laughing and joking – covered in dust and dirt… often complaining about something, or someone or some event but laughing… tired and happy.

That all changed the day the wild-haired stranger walked out of the desert.  I didn’t know who he was or what he had come to do – I did notice that on the day he came the friendly neighbourhood clusters had stopped.  Mommy and daddy started coming home later and later – sometimes coming in after I was asleep and leaving before I was up in the morning.

Daddy seemed angry all the time and one time he came home with his shirt torn and dirty – his back bloody and bruised – It was dark and I pretended to sleep, lying breathless and afraid on my sleeping mat as mommy cleaned the wounds and daddy winced.

No one was paying much attention to kids in those days (I guess it’s always that way with grown-ups and crisis). Through the whisperings and hushed conversations I figured out that the crazy desert-man had something to do with all the changes.  Moses… they whispered his name like he was standing just outside the open door.

I decided I did not like Moses…

The whole world went crazy…  Jesher and I were out one morning[1] playing with Melik, one of our Egyptians friends (we weren’t supposed to play with Egyptian kids but…) …anyway, Jesher, Melik and I were out playing when we smelt something bad…  It seemed to be coming from the river – We were told never to play by the river – it’s too dangerous especially during seed time! ..but we were kids – boys at that – so we crept toward the river constantly looking over our shoulders more frightened of being caught then of the danger that might lie ahead.  When we parted the last clump of reeds we saw what was causing the stink.  The river was red!  Fish were floating and the smell was like the smell of the butcher’s yard –

Then one day the water was normal again… the water was fine but suddenly there were frogs everywhere… and I mean everywhere!  Jesher, Melik and I had a great time all that day inventing games to play with the big ugly frogs – until we got caught – the mom’s were seriously miffed as they dragged us home … you know how adults do when they are really mad – your arm is up in the air and you’re forced to walk on tippy-toes…?

I can’t remember what was next – they all began to blur together – there the little tiny bugs – fleas or something and then the flies[2]. – I remember the flies because that was the night that daddy laughed again[3]  – the first time in a long time – a deep laugh which shook his whole body and seemed to shake the house (I loved that laugh)…

It was the next day, I think, that the camels died – I remember thinking “What was Moses doing?”  I liked camels – in fact, I was hoping (as most my friends did) that one day we would own our own camel.  Daddy came home early that day – as soon as he stepped inside I announced,

“I hate Moses… he killed all the camels.”

Daddy looked at me for what seemed like a long time – suddenly he burst into laughter like a waterfall… He laughed until his face hurt… holding his sides, tears streaming down his face – each time he stopped he would look at me and burst into laughter again – I stood there forcing myself to keep my pout in place…

Other disasters followed in quick succession a disfiguring open sores struck all the Egyptians… even Melik.  There was a hail-storm so wild it killed every living thing left out in the open, locusts that swept in and ate every green leaf and shoot. Darkness so thick you could feel it…

By this point my mommy and daddy were talking differently about the man Moses – they still whispered his name – but there was no anger now …or fear…– He would have been a hero – were he not so frightening.

One day we went to hear him speak.  His hair tumbled down his head like rain – his eyes were so dark they looked like black holes so deep I swear I could see the stars – his hands were massive, his arms as hairy as his head and when he began to speak I jumped.

I don’t remember everything he said – OK I don’t remember anything he said – nothing that made sense –   There was talk of gold and silver, blood… lots of talk of blood, killing and dying – like I said I didn’t understand most of it – the next day or two was a blur.

The thing I remember the most was mommy and daddy packing everything  – it made no sense to me – you must remember we were slaves in the land of Egypt.  There was no such thing as a holiday or a family vacation – the only time you packed up a person’s belongings was when they were dead.

I felt lost in the shuffle I was confused – the moms and dads were all crazy happy – walking and talking in a daze.  We (the children) were bewildered.

Daddy must have noticed – for late one afternoon he sat me down and told me… today son, is a very special day – and tonight will be a night you will remember as long as you live…

 

[1]           Ex 7:15

[2]           Ex 8:20

[3]           Ex 8:22

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