The third in a series of entries in an imaginary journal, as we think about what might have been in the mind of Mary.
“Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed.”
Got to Cousin Elizabeth’s house today. I really felt like crud, and must have been a sight; just over five days of walking, and it felt like every bit of that road was in my hair, on my clothes, on my feet . . . dust and dirt and grit in every nook and cranny of me. I would be more than happy to not have to take a journey like this ever again. And I am feeling bloated—I don’t think it’s showing at all, not yet, but I can feel it. Again, all that walking didn’t help. My neighbor (who knew nothing, of course, about what’s going on with me) wouldn’t pause the least little bit, except when his bunion was acting up, and then he wanted me to fetch him some water. But he clearly didn’t have a clue about the baby. Nope, nobody knows.
Except that, the minute I saw Elizabeth, she knew. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been so close to Cousin Elizabeth. She’s a lot older than me. I have only ever known her as a grown-up. But she was that grown-up who spent time talking to me and listening to me, who could be a pal to me in a way that Mom never could—Mom had to actually raise children, after all. When Elizabeth came to visit, or when we stayed with them when we traveled to Jerusalem, she always had time to pay attention just to me.
And, when I got to her house today, and I found her in the kitchen, working on the evening meal, it was obvious that she knew all about pregnancy now. She had to be six months along! And I thought I was feeling my condition! Gabriel, the stranger who came to visit me, told me she was in the family way, but I wasn’t sure about anything he said right then. This is a wonderful blessing for her and for Zechariah; they had waited so, so long to have a baby. We had all given up hope. How wonderful for her!
Yet she looked up when I meekly said, “Hello,” and immediately she tells me that I am blessed! All of the things I am thinking about with this baby growing in me, being blessed hasn’t been high on the list. No, I have been thinking about how I never wanted to be pregnant, worrying that Joseph will never speak to me again, and wondering how I could ever tell my parents about this. I have been complaining about morning sickness and this trip and my idiot neighbor, and half of that is because I’m so incredibly stressed about my situation. My mind has been so focused on me, me, me. And here is my beloved Cousin, telling me I am blessed, telling me I am special, knowing more about what is going on inside me than I do, it seems.
And all of that makes me realize that it isn’t all about me.
God has blessed me. God knows who I am and what I have done, knows everything that is wrong with me, and God has blessed me. Everything is different because of that.
I am blessed, and so I can focus on others, maybe. I’m not sure about all generations yet, but maybe I can give Elizabeth a little help. She needs to be off her feet a lot more than I do.