“And Mary said, ‘I’m bursting with God-news; I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.”
She is, let’s say, 16 years old. She’s not married. We must assume there’s a Mom and Dad around somewhere, and given the Deuteronomic law they live and move and have their being within, the parents have got to be upset. And her boyfriend has the legal religious right, almost obligation, to get a gang of his buddies together and stone her. To death.
Are they looking at her? Can they see yet? She’s brought shame on her family, her fiance, her neighborhood, and herself. She deserves whatever happens to her! She does!
Dirty, dirty, shame, shame..!!
All right, now..what follows now is my imagine gone wild (but certainly within these wide-getting-wider scriptural boundaries ). I’m imagining the “wise-beyond-her-years” Mary becoming more and more aware of her predicament. She knows what it looks like to the world. Maybe she has put off telling anyone about that weird night that may have been a dream, but it wasn’t a dream, and now her belly is swelling and she knows she’ll be able to hide for awhile from the men around her.. but not from her Mama. Mother will know.
Her periods began just last year, and Mom has helped her each time to clean herself because that was important and the scriptures said that’s how a Mother and a daughter should do it. This month, Mom would be wondering then asking why Mary was late, “Let me see,” she might say, and so Mary has to tell her, show her. Her breasts are a little sore now too and while she is not afraid of her mother, she is- afraid? yes, a little/ a lot- of the men around her. Because that’s the only way a baby could get in there- right?- but she hadn’t done anything.. had she? She doubted herself sometimes- maybe? somehow? what if?- but no!no! nonono: she knew what she knew and even if no one else believed her.. she knew.
Will he believe her? Will Joseph believe her? How could he? But he will! Of course he won’t; who will ever believe me, she wonders. So what will happen?
Mary knows she should be afraid than she feels and part of her is-really- but it’s like she has to remember that she is supposed to be afraid because there is something really weird and..it feels kind of wonderful..about this thing growing in her- this baby- a baby?- yes, a baby. She even imagined that she could feel it moving. She knew it was a boy, somebody said it was a boy, or had she dreamed it was a boy? She feels..peaceful, and she knows she shouldn’t be feeling that way; it doesn’t make any sense to feel that way!. And she doesn’t understand why but she feels so peaceful, that it’s like some kind of strange joy that seems to run like oil from the top of her head down to her feet. She walks outside and stands between the olive tree and the back of her house and because she must she raises her arms into the air and she laughs and she dances and she dances and she dances…
because it is the only thing she can do and it is the only thing she wants to do and she can, if she must remember to be afraid later..,
or maybe she will never need to feel afraid again..
“At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.”
— T.S. Eliot