Something About Mary...

Halle, halleluja...

The tail-end of Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show involved two television interviews.  I'm thankful for the exposure those shows brought to my book, I really am.  I could tell you a lot about those experiences, about the makeup and the lights and sets.  But I'd rather tell you about Mary.

On Wednesday morning a hotel shuttle took me to the Harvest Show station, picked me up and brought me back to the hotel, and an hour later took me to the airport.  I had the same shuttle driver each time...her name was Mary.  I was the only passenger each time, so, well, Mary and I talked.

She grew up in Mexico.  Marriage, nineteen years ago, brought her to South Bend, Indiana.  She asked early on if I had kids.  I said oh yeah.  I volleyed the question back to the driver's seat.  She said oh my.  You see, Mary has a sixteen year old son who is also a sixteen year old father.  He was the best boy, good grades, but he found a girlfriend and things changed.  I sent him to Mexico for the summer to try and get her out of his system.  I didn't know that before he left, he got into her system. (I laughed)  When he came back home, she told him she was pregnant.  I tell you, that was the hardest thing of my life, I tell you...the very hardest thing...

The deal is I was on my way to talk to this perky tv host about Mary the mother of God, among others, and all of a sudden I was slack-jawed with thoughts about another mother, a lady scripturally silent, who dealt with an unplanned pregnancy.  Now sure, in the fullness of time Christ was born, but let's stay tethered to the good earth uno momento, por favor.  From down here, for one mother's heart, that first Christmas may just have been the very hardest thing.

As Mary the shuttle driver told me her story, the shame was thick.  There were small nervous laughs, but shame is hard to hide...remember Eden?

What of the shame in that first Christmas?  We often talk, and rightly so, of Mary's difficulty...but what of her mother?  A mother who no doubt had hopes and dreams for her little girl?  A madre who probably walked with her daughter hand-in-hand while little Mary would sing the Jewish equivalent of Que Sera, Sera and her mother peered into her innocent eyes and replied with the Jewish equivalent of whatever will be/will be/the future's not ours to see but neither mother nor daughter nor any created thing had the foggiest idea just how pregnant that lyric can become in the hands of a God whose ways are not as ours.

The title of my book is Touching Wonder.  If I hawked that title in those television interviews once, I said it twenty times.  Yes, there was a rousing, thrilling, hope-filled wonder to those days filled with angels jamming the airwaves with Glory to God in the highest.  Yet there was also dark wonder still classifies as wonder, but it is not as we would choose, not as we had hoped.  It is the wonder that descends upon the young and old wombs of our lives and plants a seed we did not anticipate.  And it often grows in those early days thickly watered with shame...

Mary the shuttle driver dropped me off at the airport.  Little did she know that moments later I would basically have to undress for the security boys because it was a slow day in the South Bend airport and the uniformed nincompoops saw a guy with a ponytail coming while visions of dueling banjos danced in their heads and...well, that's a story for another day.  But before she drove away, Mary shot me a grin - not a full-blown smile, but a gentle curve of lips, a sliver of hope.  Again, I am beyond grateful for the tv interviews, makeup and all, but I am also thankful to the point of tears for having spent more than a few moments with another mother named Mary, one who has been through the very hardest time, but who made it through, and now occasionally drives to tell about it.

Halle, halleluja...    


  1. Wondering what your next book will be about... You're so good at recapturing time spent with people and seeing beyond what most of us see.

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  3. Don't you just love those connections you know HE made, that reek HIS fingerprint so much. Forget the air and food. I could survive on those appointments knowing HE's the author of it .

    ... ok; maybe not the food

  4. I've mentioned my SALT event, and spoke about using some of your ideas for this year's version.

    This post made me think of our... skit (for lack of a better word) involving Joseph, young carpenter, and HIS mother. I think I wrote the skit because I am the mother of sons, and my heart would be broken if I thought they didn't understand the implication of their decisions.

    It's a good skit.

    Funny I never thought of Mary's mother, because I think often of Mary.

    Thanks for the post.

  5. Lindsay, I hope you have a blessed Tgiving!

  6. Sande, yes, God's a good storyteller...those encounters are always humbling/encouraging.

    Hope you are well!

  7. Kari,

    'Skit' is okay - I hope it goes well this year. Thanks for your words.

  8. Man, I know that shame... I know the fear that comes with 'what we cannot justify'.

    And I know the need to justify.

    But I also know how redemption works, and I've been in the center of redemption for a long time. May it be complete some day.

    I have come to know that the shame is of no value, and the trust I have extends to trusting that what I had not planned and cannot justify will be used powerfully for redemption.

    I never planned on needing to be redeemed...I never planned on needing grace... I never planned on most of what is happening in my life; but in my need, I found salvation. It was the illusion of self sufficiency that hobbled my growth, and delayed my usefulness.

    My life looks more like Joseph's; I have much I cannot justify, and I'm losing the need or desire to attempt it.

  9. So thankful that He uses those "hardest things" for His glory. Because they sure can suck, on this side of heaven.