There has been so much poignant beauty expressed in my circle lately. It seems to me I have not been reading words but listening to the breathing of mothers - the deliberately calm exhalations in a needful moment, the silent inward breath sanctified by love, the consciousness of air coming in, flowing out, perilous and painful as one contemplates what ultimately motherhood will bring.
Every time I look at a picture of Mary, I see the joy and sorrow that intermingle always in her heart. Even in the sweet little illustration above, she seems to be holding on to something ephemeral, light rather than a child, and the loving tenderness she gives him is made all the more vital because she knows she can but do what she can do for as long as she is given that child, that light, in her hands.
Did she know that her mothering would make Him strong enough that he could leave her, strong enough that he could walk willingly into death? I'm sure she did, as do we all. And so the sorrowful joy. And so the moments when it's all pared down to breathing, as we watch them, or work for them, or go hungry for them, or wait for them to phone.
And if you look at the illustration, don't you think they look so alone - as if it is but the two of them in the whole world? And yet can you not also sense God there too, watching, trusting Mary with all the trust He has? So much relies on Mary. The whole fate of the world relies on her. But she always seems so serene. I'm sure she understood the secret of motherhood - that so long as you listen to your breathing, and consult your love, you will always be able to do what you can do. It might not stop them from tossing around tables and getting themselves killed, but that's ultimately not up to you.
This day last year Mary got me into Church for the first time since I was a child.
From Knitting the Wind