A good reputation is a priceless possession

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story about Mary's journey being with child, in the eyes of a young 16 boy, her cousin

Submitted: November 30, 2010

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Submitted: November 30, 2010

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It was Friday afternoon in the bright little seaside town of Galilee. Almost every household was preparing for the Sabbath (a special holy, worship time from Friday sundown to Saturday sunset). The Passman’s household was no exception, and like all other Jewish boys, I was busy helping my father clean the shop, as it was almost time to close. Then, as usual I heard my mom yell for me. “Michael, come here now!” “I wonder what she wants this time? She is always calling me for something.” I was greatly annoyed, I didn’t really want to go to my mom, but being the “dutiful” Jewish boy that I was, I went to her and politely asked what she wanted. It turned out, that since Sabbath was approaching, my mom wanted me to go into town and get some fresh bread from Schwartz’s Bakery. What a relief! This was actually a task I was going to enjoy. Going into town meant seeing my friends, and probably playing a quick ball game. So off I went, muttering to myself, “Maybe I shouldn’t complain so much. After all, there are others that have a harder life than I do.” This, became incredibly evident to me as I passed two beggars on the side of the dusty road, one blind, the other lame. How sad! As I approached the quieting town I could see all the business men making final preparations to close as Sabbath approached. Everyone had to be home before sunset, in time to light the Sabbath candles and partake of the Sabbath meal.

As I followed the rich aroma of the freshly baked bread to the bakery, my mind wondered. I started to think about the subject my parents were recently lecturing me about. They constantly seemed to be saying, “You are getting older, you need to act your age! (16)” or “Look at how old you are! You need to start taking responsibility for your actions!” I felt so frustrated! Sometimes I wished they would just lay off with all the lecturing. After all, if I were a “man” as they said, why couldn’t they just leave me alone? Reaching the bakery and not seeing any of my friends in sight, I quickly darted inside. “Shalom, Mr. Schwartz,” I greeted the baker. “Here to get your mom’s favorite? Honey Oat Nut Crunchy Wheat Loaf?” he asked. “Yes,” I confirmed. Fortunately for me it turned out that he was sold out, but if I waited around for another hour or so I could get some of those he was just popping into the oven. I smiled, this was great news! This meant that I could have some time to find my friends and play a couple dodge ball games. Walking joyfully out of the baker’s shop, I saw some commotion down the main street in the town square. My curiosity got the best of me and I made a b-line towards the mysterious gathering, to investigate. There, huddled together in the middle of the town square was a bunch of grandmas and idle housewives. Furtively, I crept closer to eavesdrop on what the excitement was all about. I was hoping to get as much information as I could before being noticed. Yes! They were gossiping. I was shocked! Don’t get me wrong! I wasn’t shocked that they were gossiping, but I was shocked about WHOM they were gossiping. Mary? I kept hearing Mary’s name over and over again. You see, Mary is my cousin. Mary is the closest person I know to perfection. Mary has all the good attributes a person should have. Mary is kind, loving, sweet, and even generous. Not that she is terribly legalistic, like the Scribes and Pharisees; she is just generally a good person. I loved her, and looked up to her tremendously. What could these silly old ladies want with Mary? They had nothing good to say about anyone, so what could they want with her? There was nothing bad about Mary, everything about Mary was good. No, NO WAY! This could not be true, not MY cousin Mary. In shock I listened closely. Pregnant? This was the worst possible thing that an unmarried girl could be. How could Mary be pregnant? She was engaged to be married to Joseph Bar Jacob. Regardless, Mary would never do such a thing. Dazed, I glanced up at the evening sky and realized that sunset was drawing near. I had to get mother’s bread and hurry home. So, I rushed back to the bakery to purchase my mom’s Honey Oat Nut Crunchy Wheat Loaf. On the way back, with the bread in hand and still in a daze, I contemplated whether I should tell my mom about all the ridiculous gossip I had just heard. Was it even worth it? How would she react? The approaching Sabbath was already looking quite dismal.. Arriving home, I reluctantly truged into the kitchen, handed my mom her bread, and stood there uncertainly still wondering whether or not I should tell her what I had heard. As soon as I summed up the courage to tell my mom what I had heard. She demanded “Michael, are you alright? Do you have something to say?” I knew I couldn’t lie to my mom. I had to tell her. “I-it’s Mary, some ladies in town said she is going to have a ba-”, I stuttered. “A baby”, my mom finished. My mom looked at me with a “parent” look. She said she was sorry I had to find out like this, but unfortunately my cousin did not have the characteristics she appeared to possess. For the second time today, I was shocked! I could not believe my mom would even think that Mary was not the person we all knew her to be. In a state of anger and disbelief I stormed out of the kitchen bumping into my father. He asked me what was wrong and if I had seen a ghost. I opened my mouth to respond but words failed me. I was so upset. The tears started to fall and I rushed past him into the deserted street. There had to be an explanation for this nonsense! I must find Mary! She would put an end to all of this craziness. Blindly, I walked the worn, familiar path to Mary’s house. Approaching her house, I saw her there, in the front garden looking as happy as ever, as if she had not a care in the world. This was the Mary I knew. Not sparing feelings or time, I ran up to her and blurted, “Is it true? Are you pregnant?” Her face beamed and her eyes twinkled, as if she wasn’t surprised I had come to see her, or that I was questioning her morality. She offered me a seat on the bench beside her; I know she had a story to tell. Slowly, the story unfolded. She was alone one day when an angel appeared to her and told that she was going to be the mother of the Messiah. She told me about her fear and her doubt, and how she asked the angel, how could this be? After all she was a virgin. The angel told her that the Holy Ghost would come upon her, and the child would be the son of God. Suddenly, we heard approaching footsteps. We looked up and could see two women approaching, they were Mary’s neighbors, Deborah and Helen from down the road. Nearing us, they held their heads close together as they whispered frantically in each others ears. They kept glancing towards us. Mary waved to them in her usual friendly fashion. There was no response, only a look of condescension as they hurried away. I could see the hurt flicker across Mary’s face, but it only lasted for a moment. Then, she smiled and continued her story. As I watched her eyes twinkle and heard her speak with joy and happiness, I knew this was only the beginning of her long, hard journey. I believed her, but I knew others wouldn’t. If it had been anyone else I would have thought either they were crazy or they were telling a dreadful lie. But no, that thought couldn’t even cross my mind. This was Mary, the girl with the perfect reputation, the girl I grew up with, and the girl who would never tell a lie. The Lord could not have chosen a more perfect vessel to bear his son.


© Copyright 2019 Rachel Gray. All rights reserved.

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