If Mary Had Said No

If Mary had said, “No”
Her life would have been infinitely easier

No trudging off to Bethlehem,
wearied and jolted by the donkey
bearing a burden of infinitude within her.

No loss of reputation,
not having to think what Nazareth was saying behind her back.

No, her life would have been normal,
running to the ancient pattern,
lived without unwanted complications.

She would not have to fear for the life of her son
or be secreted out of her home
to hide in a foreign land.

No, she could stay where she was,
living out an ordinary life,
keeping house,
lighting Sabbath candles,
cooking the meals and sweeping floors,
All so normal, regular, and sane.

If Mary had said, “No”
she would not know this child,
for whom the eternal lived in ‘now’,
rough-edging the present with His timelessness.

So unsettling!
Here, there would be no pattern,
only an unsettling newness
an open horizon
leading to a shadowed future.

The infinite was compressed into a momentary decision
It was the cross-roads of decision
and Mary said, “Yes”.

God would always now be breaking into her present, her now,
breaking apart the age-old patterns of stability and comfort.
Her “yes’ to Gabriel was her “no” to normalcy.

But if Mary had said “No”,
there would have been no pain.
The years would all have passed,
bringing their complement of joy and sorrow.

She would not have to see her Son
driven from her side
by a love for all humanity.
She would not have to hear ‘insane’
hurled against her Son,
Or the cry that he was possessed
by unholy things
driving him mad.

She would not have to see him
tried as an criminal, an enemy of God.

Instead, her sons could have been farmers, craftsmen, even rabbis.

If Mary had said “No”,
she would not have to stand at the feet of the one she cradled in the stable,
seeing blood flowing from His wounds,
feeling as only a mother can
the wounding of her son
the indescribable pain of torn flesh
and the dying gasping of breath.

She would not have to feel
the dead weight of a lifeless body
taken down from the cruel wood,
lying in her arms without sound,
without heart beat,
without breath.

If Mary had said “No”
she could have saved herself this pain.

But she said “Yes”,
engraced from the moment of her being
open-hearted to a future yet unknown
having faith beyond pain, beyond sorrow, beyond incertitutde

Trusting in a love, fresher than sin, more powerful than death,
trusting in a love that, while not safe,
was infinite.

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