meeting mary

my name is mary. i live here in the village, in the house at the edge of town. the people of the village seldom see me, perhaps they vaguely recall that i am here, for i seldom come outdoors. i like it here inside my house of adobe brick, the cool grayness (even in the summer heat) of the unadorned walls, the tiny windows high up on the walls. i feel surrounded by safety here inside these quiet, solid walls.

i cannot tell you why i stay inside, it would bring my family too much shame. i can only tell you that if i venture out into the streets of my village, my people scorn me terribly. some simply point and stare, whispering behind their hands. others turn quickly away, pulling their children with them across the street. still others pick up their stones and hurl them at me.

most days i stay inside..at least until it’s dark…doing my chores in silence, content within the peace of this protective womb. but sometimes when evening’s blanket falls, i will grab my shawl, pull it o’er my head, and step outside to walk within the freshness. i especially love the clear, crisp nights, when earth is still, and stars beckon from the depths.

my mother and my father live upstairs with my sisters and my brothers. for the most part, they also leave me to myself. tonight they have gone into the center of the village for the religious celebration. it is an important ceremony for my people. the whole of the village will be there. later, there will be food and drink and laughter.

although i usually like the quiet, tonight i am somehow deeply saddened by my isolation. i feel so much the pain of being imprisoned by this shame and i have gone downstairs for comfort.

a footstep on the floor above my head alerts me. i call out “who is there?”, for just a moment, slipping into the hope that they have come back for me. but no one answers. i listen carefully, but the house has become quiet once again. perhaps it was my imagination. still, i climb the winding adobe stairs, my hand trailing the cool surface of the walls.

the room above is filled with the softness of a glow, like many candles burning, and i wonder if the harvest moon has made her appearance. her soft lumen floods the space with her presence, and so i stay to sit within her bath of light.

i close my eyes and breathe in the night air that comes through the many open windows on this floor. faintly I can hear the music of the festivities in the village, but closer still i hear the sounds of night outside my window. and then yet closer i hear a voice, soft and low before me, filling my awareness, whispering my name.

i open my eyes and i see her, kneeling on the floor in front of me. her eyes are full of love, her garments flowing. she offers me her hand and lifts me, leads me to the sofa where she holds me. i place my head into her lap and let her stroke my forehead and my hair and brush the tears that finally come.

then she quietly begins to speak to me, in a voice that is almost more like singing.

“I have come, my child, to tell you who you are. …..”

she begins to speak of the gift that is within me and i laugh aloud because i know the truth of what i am and what is truly inside me. it is why I hide, why the village people stare and hurl at me. my growing and misshapen self has only made it more obvious to both them and me that i am worthless.

but she stops my laughter with her hand upon my cheek and turns my face to gaze into her own and she says, “trust me”…..

and i do.

could it somehow be that i am truly blessed?

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