Disclaimer: The characters belong to SM. The quotes are from the Bible, Ecclesiastes chapter 3, verses 1 through 8, in the King James translation.
The Jubilee year follows seven cycles of seven years and is thus celebrated every fifty years. Used variously as an agricultural, legal, or religious term, it denotes a year of freedom and rest.
My family has planned a celebration, but in advance I'm marking this day, as I have marked the others, alone before God. My ancient Bible open before me, I reflect with thanksgiving on all that God has given me. Later, I will happily indulge my family's antics, since my thanksgiving is first and foremost for them. My family. Nothing in my 350 years has brought me more joy than their presence. I am known and loved, and my love for them and from them raises me to new heights.
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven"
Another year, another decade, another season, today marks my seventh Jubilee. A human rarely reaches two, yet here I am at seven with the new day dawning fresh and open. Perhaps it is my destiny to be earthbound until the earth itself has reached its end of days. I have come to see the blessing override the curse in this.
"A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted"
How I love my Esme. Had I not been changed, I would have been long dead by her birth, and she would have died in despair at her own hand. Yet in this strangest of ways, it was not our time. And though I saved her, it is truly she who saved me, bringing my heart to life for the very first time.
She is nearly one hundred. I marvel daily at her vibrancy in our absurdly extended lives. Yet her warmth and beauty have only become more precious as our family has grown and her silent heart extends to embrace each of us without measure.
I remember her care for Emmett, she so tiny compared to his bulk. Though he was out of control and able to injure her despite her near invincibility, she never once shrank back. When Rosalie asked me to turn Emmett, I was afraid his muscular frame would reprise Esme's fears from the horrific travesty of her human marriage. She had gained so much freedom, and I refused to see her hurt again. But I had underestimated her. She saw salvation for Rosalie and that was enough for her to embrace Emmett, no matter how he turned out.
"A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up"
Edward. My son. Myself. We have made each other. At my fifth Jubilee, I was still alone. My despair was growing daily and I began my desperate internal debate about whether there could be any justification for turning another. That I found Edward can only be ascribed to God's great mercy. My longing to be known was fulfilled beyond any anticipation, as he knows me in a way not possible by any other. My thoughts are his, not just the noble, but the darkest as well, and yet he honors and loves me, giving me the great privilege of being as a father to him.
Though I've tried my best, my deepest regrets are in passing my faults onto him, thus bearing the blame for so much of his suffering. His doubts were once mine, though mine have been removed. I pray that he too will someday see beyond the monster to the bright star he has become. I pray for his mate, whoever and whenever she is, that in due time they will come together and she will aid his healing and rebuilding.
"A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance"
Emotion is such a complex gift, opening us to such exquisite extremes. I have run from it, and tried to suppress and conquer it more than once in my life. Jasper has helped me more than he knows with his mastery of his astonishing gift. Not as flashy perhaps as mindreading or visions, but touching the very soul.
After Edward, and then Esme, I couldn't imagine there could be anything more to answer my deepest desire to be known. Then Jasper joined us. He feels what I feel and I am again known in a way I never anticipated. That between them my sons know my mind and my heart, and choose to stay with me is a gift beyond reckoning.
This Jubilee, my first since their appearance, I especially celebrate Jasper and Alice. Their arrival is surely unprecedented in our world, family finding each other. They came knowing our names and our ways, and though we knew nothing of them, the connection was immediate.
"A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing"
Our connection with Rosalie did not come so quickly. She spent her first years with us pushing us away, but afraid to be alone. In our physical presence, she held herself far from us as she mourned her lost life. Her dance of needing us near, yet pulling away, honed my patience like nothing before. In my darkest nights, I wondered if she had the true perspective, that I had no right to choose this barren life for her.
Thank God he brought Emmett. Rosalie's joy in his presence slowly smoothed her hardest edges and enabled her to embrace first Emmett, and then the rest of us. Another stone gathered.
"A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away"
Nobody knows how to cast away better than Emmett. In contrast with the endless agonized rumination in which Edward and I sadly indulge, Emmett is quick to move on, forgiving himself as quickly as he forgives his family. He has taught us fun. He holds his possessions lightly, enjoying all we have to the fullest, but leaving everything without the slightest feeling of deprivation when it is time to move on.
At first, he considered himself an addition, an in-law more than a son. Yet from the start, his heart for us, his loyalty and love joined him irrevocably to all of us.
How utterly absurd that we have a bear to thank for Emmett's presence, and how magnificent that Rosalie's restraint was rewarded with such blessing. Truly God works all things for all of us, crafting together his purposes through the most unexpected circumstances.
"A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak"
I smile to think of Alice's rebellion at the thought of ever rending cloth. Surely, though, she has shown her wisdom over and over in speaking of her visions only when they offer us aid. Holding silently in her heart those visions that are too vague to bring anything but idle speculation, she speaks fearlessly when the truth is revealed.
Her courage inspires me. What must it be like to arrive as a newborn vampire, with no memories to define you in any way, to embrace the future with no past to lean on? Truly, she made a choice to find herself first in Jasper, then in our family. Where some might mourn their lack of anchoring history, she revels in her freedom from tether, living with loving abandon in the now and the not yet.
"A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace."
As a child, opposed to my father's rampant cruelty, I could find no understanding of how there could be a time to hate. Now, with a family to protect, I have sadly realized the need to meet violence with violence to save them. I have killed more than once, and in this vile life I expect I will kill again. Yet in God's mercy, he has given me many seasons of peace.
God, I give you my deepest devotion, in thankful awe for your provision exceedingly beyond my most profound longings. Only you could gather these incredible individuals and craft them into this family beyond imagining. I ask for your blessing on each of them individually and on all of us together for as long as your will provides. I joyfully acknowledge my gratitude to you for the seven Jubilee years you have given me, for the love of my family, and for your love which is truly endless.
For Edwina Cullen, my good friend and my inspiration in so many ways.
Thanks, also to my many fandom friends, canon writers and beyond, who have encouraged me to get with the program and write something.