When an angel came and gave impossible news, it isn’t possible she knew what Emmanuel could mean; not possible she knew what with-ness of God she’d attain.
When her belly grew under scandal and her partner stuck around she could not have been aware of the scandalous grace about to meet her in a distant cave.
When she walked on swollen ankles to several shut up doors she was completely unaware of the ground she’d tread made holy by blood and painful waves.
None of us are. When we miss a cycle, take a test, feel a flutter. We are only as in awe as we can be – we match the wonder to the moment to our best, but we are in the dark until the light comes.
And when it does?
She felt the first pains and decided it was just fatigue. She told Joseph not to worry. She winced a little harder and started to sense a pattern. She talked through them until she couldn’t, stopped walking to let them pass, she admitted that fine, it might be her time. She remembered her mother, sister, aunts going through the same test and she knew she needed to find somewhere to rest.
They found one and by the time they got there she didn’t care about the smell or the sounds or the shit on the floor. Her muscles tightened more hard and more quick and she could have been naked in a garden for all she cared, she needed to get this baby out. When the urge to push came she felt relief and for the first time in hours she believed this would not go on forever.
She pushed and she felt it all. As Joseph held her hand tighter than she needed, she pushed and delivered the hope of their family, their future into the world. She took a breath and then the new parents’ hands reached down and brought him in close.
And she knew.
Her tiny child curled onto her chest, she closed her eyes and put her lips to his head and she smelled Heaven on his skin.
Her hands cupped around his tiny form and she when she kissed his soft, chubby cheek she couldn’t know any more that she kissed the face of God.
She felt every movement outside that she had in; when he wiggled around and opened his eyes and she stared into the eyes of I Am.
She was unafraid and devastated by this sudden breach of Love.
And men would ask in a thousand years or so, in songs and musings, “Mary, did you know?” and every woman with scars inside can’t help but join in her response through smiles.
“Yes,” resound the voices led by Mary, sister’s chorus, “we knew.”