Sunday, March 13, 2011

Her Name Was Mary

I sweep straw into piles, thoughts full of Mary. I met Mary today, a beautiful woman with a bleeding heart. Mary, the woman with a story; Mary, the woman sitting by the hot tub at the gym; she has sores that are festering open and I am repulsed. But there is something in her eyes-  windows to a soul aching to empty.

I hold her hopeful gaze, and she releases:

"I had three babies, but one died as an infant. She was born too soon, and she wasn't all the way formed. I got to hold her in my arms and hear her cry before she died.

The nurses let me be alone with her, and I said, 'please don't take her away. This is the only time I have with her.' Well they left me to be with her, and I saw my little girl open her deformed mouth, trying to breathe. She had one big curled beautiful black lock on her forehead and the tiniest little eyelashes curled up. She was breathing her last. I quickly rang the nurses' bell, and they ran in and whisked my baby out of the room. I started to scream: 'My baby! My baby! Don't take my baby! Just let me be with her a little longer!'

But they took her and I was a mad woman, screaming and sobbing. Then the next thing I knew they were sticking needles into my leg,  and I didn't wake up for six hours. They thought it was all too hard for me, and thought it would help to put me to sleep. But it just made it worse. When I woke up, I looked over and saw that empty bassinet, and I didn't know what had happened to my baby. It started all over again. They told me if I didn't calm down, I would have to be put out again.

Forty-three years ago that happened, and it's like it was yesterday. There's some things you just never get over. I couldn't bear to have any more children after that. it was just too painful....
But you learn to go on, and you do heal."

 Mary, I feel your pain. The pain of Calvary cradled in your arms, infant breathing last. The pain of a throbbing humanity wanting release, freedom from the sadness and suffering. Mary, Do you know that your name means "bitter?" And how can you not be bitter? You smile gracefully as you bare the wounds of a gouged heart; somehow the telling brings peace, closure.

Here am I, a passing stranger, and you trust me with the gift of soul, with the oozing of emotions made raw and vulnerable in this sharing. I am ashamed that I had only seen the sores. I am unworthy of naked-soul-gift.

I think of a Mary keeping vigil at the foot of a cross, and she is not bitter either; God's grace shrouded her in a life that should have reaped bitterness and resentment, but instead heralded Salvation. How can I, a floundering soul, reject bitterness and live a life that pleases God? What does He want from me? From Us?

Daily encounters are teaching me well. There are so many hungry people everywhere, just wanting someone to talk to - someone who cares enough to sit long and look past sores to the heart that bleeds. I need to be that someone. You need to be that someone. God calls all of us to be that person who is going to deliver his children to Him. And today...Today I was the one that was blessed, I was the one delivered.

"The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me" ~Matthew 25:40