In many Christian congregations, today would have been celebrated as Mary’s Sunday. Love Sunday of Advent. But her day.
I first wrote this poem back in college. And over the years have revised it. Again and again. In 2004, I decided to leave it alone. And so this is that last version. I resonate deeply with the uncertainty and fear Mary must have felt. And the Magnificat, which tells so much of her story so beautifully, is one of my most favorite pieces of scripture. It is a reminder that we are never alone.
Her story is, too, testament to the sort of grit and grace that just, sometimes, says, “Yes.” Even when that “Yes” means nothing will ever be the same again.
November 22, 2004
Taught to obey, follow God,
Able to recite psalms since her feet could fill sandals
well-acquainted with the dusty road to synagogue.
A good girl.
Only a girl.
Today we’d say “adolescent,”
Talk at her about family planning, wonder why she didn’t “know better,”
Lift her up as what not to do, how not to be.
We’d glance furtively, whisper accusingly
Pull our own little ones away from staring.
We’d profess God’s love Sunday,
Judge her outside of it Monday.
She didn’t ask for it, didn’t want it.
Who would? Who longs for humiliation,
Asks for ridicule,
Searches out disgrace?
She just said yes.
to risk and fear and doubt.
to pain and heartache and loss.
yes to agony and defeat.
yes to love.
At Gabriel’s bidding
This girl bore God.
Let go mercy.
Gave us life.