Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The next part of the Mary trilogy is the part that I really like to think about. Here's the story:

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

I love that story. It's my favorite of Christmas. And I think of it other times of year when I am troubled and doubtful because it has all the pieces that I pick up and use when I am thrust into a situation that I had not anticipated.

For instance, the fear. Do not be afraid. I need to hear this about eight times a day. Do not be afraid. My friend Wendy says that all of human interaction is a result of either fear or love. She says everything boils down to just that: fear or love. There is so much of life, and love, that frightens me. I am so afraid of the unknown, my own limitations, my shortcomings, my famous impatience. I'm afraid of not being able to manage, not having a perfect response, not knowing the answer; not knowing at all. I'm afraid of being judged as unworthy and inept. And in those times, I can feel the dark settle about my shoulders as if it were a coveted collar, worn in special company. Fear is my default position of choice. Such a luxury.

Mary had to be shocked with fear when Gabriel came to her with the news of impending motherhood. Just what would the neighbors think? How was she to tell her own mother and father? How could she mother a baby with an old man as the father? How in the world was this all going to work out? And, was she supposed to have sex with this guy once she claimed him as the baby's father? What? And what else was Gabriel not telling her? I love to think about her as Gabriel went into the details and how she processed the incredible scenario he laid out.

The other part of that story that I love to think about are all the possible out loud reactions to what Gabriel was saying that would have, could have been legitimate. This is a terrible time of year to be pregnant. I have finals; as long as we're spinning the Tale Fantastic, could this baby be born when it's a little more convenient? I want a better father, a legitimate life partner, somebody that will make me laugh and who is handsome. What about my job? Hey, this is my body; don't I have any say in the matter?

But as the story goes, she didn't. She said, May it be done to be according to your word. Here's why that inspires me: I can think of a half a dozen times in my life when I was presented with unlikely, improbable and unpromising assignments of life that come to each of us unbidden. Wendy calls them AFGOs, or another fucking growth opportunity(s). On these particular times, when I was minding my own business and along comes these unsolicited megadevelopments, I allowed myself to be open to challenge, to possibility and somehow, incredibly, made a conscious effort not to be scared. I just decided. And these were the times I landed a sweet windfall, made a friend for all time, learned a lesson that neither of my parents learned or grew 10 inches taller, figuratively. These were the times that I went forward in faith and love and low and behold, found myself mothering Our Lord, so to speak.

So to speak. Seems a little blasphemous to say it out loud. But I am saying it and this as well: I need to be a little more Mary, a lot more Mary, and a little less Belle. In and out of advent. I need to take off the fear collar and put it away for all time and be confident that no matter my inadequacies, I can still mother anyone. So to speak.

The 'Kan EWA


jb3ll3 said...

Her Holiness The Psycho Therapist writes in to say tht blogger won't let her post. Unseemly. So she emailed this and requested that I copy and paste:

Every time you open and share your self from this heartful place I am deeply moved. When you willing open, allow vulnerability, my heart hears the song of your own and I am transformed.

You have said much in the last two posts I want and need to reflect on today. Imagine me printing your words, see me pouring over them in the early morning, sometimes in a break between patients, in the evening quiet before readying for bed.

I pray your mother comes to you. I want this for you. It is very simple.
I hear your struggles with life because they are echoed in the chambers of every human heart I have ever had the fortune to meet...and embrace.
Your children have been a blessing, grace, and they are likewise blessed, graced, with you as a guiding light.

You are perfect as you are with no efforting is necessary. What illusions we all travel with. How many times a day must I be reminded to hear the bell, to remember to wake up, to know there is more than this. Fear might be an incredible obstacle yet the soul is intelligent light. Both hold a place here, one is a birthright--our true home.

With all that I am I thank you for everything you have brought into my life. Knowing you has brought me remarkable gifts of which I am grateful. You are grace to me, too.

One day we will share our "Mary" stories. I think you will find them of interest considering the fact I am radically anti-dogma/religion.

Again, for this post and the last...beautiful, just gorgeous.
I have my arms around your heart right this minute. I am smiling at and with your soul.


Anonymous said...

it is beta comments.. I have now seen it in several places.

BUT, Anonymous does work in some places... so I will try again.

I wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed the last 2 posts also. I've always loved the story of Mary. I also, wish there were more of it... cause ya have to believe there was more!

Kentucky Brat

jb3ll3 said...

heeey Brat, You KNOW there was more. :) They just ain't sayin'.

Part of the fun.


Kentucky Brat said...

JBelle - if your interested.... I thought this was really cool. Its from THE GNOSTIC SOCIETY LIBRARY, called THE GOSPEL OF THE NATIVITY OF MARY.

Yeah I know, not main stream. But it just sounds right to me. For whatever reason.

Check it out

green libertarian said...

In a religion that is generally so male-centric, the story of Mary and the virgin birth is a very powerful one, and brings in a feminine side to the overall story of Christ. If only The Church would realize this, fully, and empower women completely in the faith. The adoration of Mary is commendable, but not sufficient. That being said, it is not mysogonistic to consider as most revealing and important, the teachings of Jesus Christ, who knew NO fear, and taught us to love Him, and to love our neighbors without reservation.

Let go of your heart, let go of your head. Babylon.