Saturday, December 10, 2016

Prelude to a Magnificat: Mary’s Ache

My thoughts behind this poem:
I can imagine a “just-made-it-to-womanhood” girl whose loving devotion to God placed her in the middle of some of the most difficult circumstances an unmarried female could find herself in the days of King Herod. I imagine that Mary, like all of us attempting to walk by faith, faltered in her own understanding and acceptance of God’s will over the nine months Jesus grew in her womb. I imagine the one brave enough to say yes to God’s request was also gutsy enough to be real in His presence. Maybe we can do away with the whitewashed, romanticized girl we conjure up in blue robes, and instead see her as we might actually be had we found ourselves in her situation. 

Between the angelic proclamation and the lyrics to Mary’s Song in Luke 1, I suspect there was a whole lot of soul searching that happened in Mary’s heart. And so, this is my license to wax poetic concerning what could have been happening inside of Mary as she comes to terms with all God’s plan required of her. I see a newly birthed woman preparing to give birth while her tenuous faith and faltering confidence keep her company. And as her vanishing world of safety slips through her fingers, I imagine honest-to-God moments where she pushed back against the inevitable pain brought on by this path she accepted. I choose to place the timing of this poem just before she visited her cousin, Elizabeth. And I end the poem with questions that I think Mary might have easily asked and that God, in His infinite graciousness, immediately answered for her in the greeting she was given by Elizabeth.


This root of grief. 
Growing invisible 
while my abdomen swells.
Loss of trust 
and social standing.
It’s enough to break anyone.
At least to break me.
I am my name.
Like self-fulfilling prophecy.

Shushed whispers,
eyes speaking a thousand judgments.
Virgin in body, but not in reputation.
I die again with each look of a father’s disappointment
and midnight weeping from a mother.
Would they even believe what is true?
Do I still believe it to be true?

Man in glowing white
pronouncing favor,
promising a child,
a king, a savior.
But blessed?
I, who am spared no rejection?
Who befriends isolation and loneliness?
Anger brews and boils.
Lingering long enough for me to invite it in
when doors have closed their welcome
and friends have disappeared.
Bitterness harvested from a heart that God chose.

Prescience might have altered my service.
How is holiness born from scandal?
Or rescue birthed from reproach?
For now, only torment seems the return
on my investment of faith that
makes God the King
but me?
I am lost and afflicted.
Questioning my sanity,
and my willingness to suffer.

My tears have bled me dry.
How long, Lord, 
before you change my name?
How long must I wrestle before becoming Israel?
How far must I walk to be Abraham?
Jehovah, Your name is great,
do not forget about mine?
Will you salvage it?
Can you redeem bitter?
Redefine Mary?
Restore me?

Have mercy, God.
If I found favor once, 
could it be found again?
Would you confirm what I heard?
What I know, but now doubt and fear?
Would you remind me
that your servant is always safe,
that you are in this struggle,
that I am blessed by you?
Even as my world distances itself from me,
will you show you are still close and fulfilling your promises?

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