She was scared & I couldn’t blame her. The tender age of 18 would bring new life into the world…not just one, but three; stunned to find that her high school love would turn her into a mother of triplets.
She held his hand tightly, a white knuckled grip on the chair in the darkest corner of the exam room. She was drawn to the shadows—shame, maybe? I thought of her life in 8 shorts months. The expectant belly pregnant with anticipation. And in the process of growing the lives inside her, judgment would be hurled. Scoffs & strange looks would find their way into her heart, shock at the size of her girth & the age of the face above it. Surely her group of friends would change—17 year olds usually don’t know how to embrace best friends entering motherhood. She was frightened. So she gripped that hand of his & didn’t look back, didn’t let go.
I would have too.
The Virgin Mary came to mind. Young, expectant, gripping the hand of her Joseph. Surely their friendships would change, judgments tossed in their direction. The expected visit from Angel Gabriel promised one Life would grow---I can’t help but think she was surprised to find that her innocent “yes” would turn her into a Mother of the World’s Savior.
DaVinci’s portrayal of her young face flashes on the projector in church, smoke from the advent candles below drift upward making a floating shadow like eerie ghost in front of Young Virgin’s face. Just as the smoke rises, so do their voices—young, old, tenor, soprano. Uplifting. Surrounding. Echoing off the pudgy face of young Mary & innocent Heir.
Sweet sound. Sweet life…growing from one…to three…to multitudes. Their voices travel upward, onward, preparing the path to parishioner’s hearts in preparation for His humble arrival. And on shines young Mary, youthful Mother.
“Gloria sing Praise Hallelujah, Gloria sing Praise!!...”
One voice stood above the rest. I look up to see a young girl at the microphone. No surprise, belly pregnant with anticipation. Her expectant glow matching Mary’s, her solo voice rising as the smoke of the advent candles.
“Glory, Glory to God in the Highest. And Peace on Earth to all men…”
Voices louder, now. Onward, upward.
At His bedside, the angels sang praises—the light of the North Star illuminating the scene.
Lifetimes later, within the walls of stained glass, the choir sings, voices surrounding the Expectation, lit by the flicker of candles in waiting.
Voice boxes open, echoes rise. A cacophony of beautiful octaves.
And just for a moment, I close my eyes…gladly lost in the centuries.