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Chapter 1: Mary: The Headstrong Mother


Heaven has no timid souls.
Heaven is
A belief that
Boldness is you.

Are you saying, Charlie, that boldness describes the personality of Mary?

I am. She made bold choices at a very young age--even when they created circumstances she had to live with for the rest of her life. In fact, her willfulness had a great deal to do with her growth in general.

Is boldness a good quality?

That depends on whether you notice the good it wrought. Happily, Mary eventually saw the advantages of her choices. Quite a few of them brought her heavenly feelings.

Perhaps Mary had a better chance of feeling them with a son like Jesus.

Perhaps she had the same chance you have since heaven is found through release.

Release to what?

What do you want to be released to, Betsy?

Living life as I see fit.

Give this release to others and it?s yours.

Did Mary have trouble releasing Jesus?

She certainly did, mostly because Jesus talked half the day away about God, the universe, and eternity. Mary wondered how he?d ever handle his Earthly needs--that is, unless he joined a religious order. When he shied away from the only direction that held any interest--the temple teachings--she pushed him to do what she had done in hopes that he'd find the same contentment she had.
What about his carpentry skills?

Jesus never took them seriously. He preferred to think of himself as an orator. Mary didn't see how he could become one in the world in which he functioned. He had no political ambitions and that's where she saw speakers making their mark. Instead of settling down and making what she thought were sensible choices--like getting married, having children, and planning a career--he was off getting involved with the many heretical nomads roaming the land and preaching revolution. Mary was beside herself. She referred to these people rather condescendingly as haggais, a name that was given to self-proclaimed prophets and which, like your word mentor, had gained generic meaning through over use.

To her they weren't respectable. She had higher ambitions, wanting Jesus to succeed more conventionally, and she wasn't the least bit shy about telling him so. He was well aware that he had some decisions to make. He just wanted to make them comfortably and not under a lot of pressure. Although he fell back on his carpentry when he realized that he'd have to support his Earthly needs like the rest of humanity, he didn't start out with woodworking as his lifelong ambition. He was convinced he was destined for holier pursuits.

Wasn't he?

Only after he realized the holiness of carpentry.

Did Mary hope he would get married?

She did. She was a strong-willed woman who thought she knew what was best for her children and who, for years, did her utmost to make her influence felt. In her opinion, a good wife would drill some sense into him--her sense, that is?but Jesus would have none of it. He dragged his feet with one excuse after another as to why it wasn't right for him. Had Mary listened to him more carefully, she would have realized that Jesus wasn't ready for a step like this. He was restless, and had a short attention span about anything that didn't interest him. When something did, his pursuit of it was unstoppable. The women Mary knew wanted a devoted family man who would support and nourish that unit.

Not that she knew what Jesus needed, she didn't, but she wanted to. So she pushed him to do what had satisfied her, in hopes that he'd find the same satisfaction. Mary's dream of happiness was to have a big wonderful brood to love and to cherish. Jesus didn't want a family, at least not in the conventional sense. He had a broader vision of kin. Mary's struggle came from refusing to accept his point of view as valid. But she didn't want it to be valid since she'd invested much of her life in a different one. When Jesus fought her on this issue, she became even more determined to prove her reasoning right.

Life hadn't been easy for Mary. In fact, the beginning of her marriage had been fraught with drama, almost more than she could bear. She certainly didn't want her children living the same discomfort she'd experienced from stepping beyond society's dictates. Even though she eventually found contentment, her pain was well remembered. God forbid that her children suffer likewise. Therefore, in what she considered everyone's best interests, she presented a conservative approach to life and did her best to push her children to live it. When it looked like Jesus had other ideas, she was distraught. How was he going to find "the good life" if he didn't seek one? How was he going to avoid the pitfalls of snap decisions if he didn't live discreetly? How was he going to survive without the normal precautions everyone knew were wise?

Mary cared so deeply because of her own missteps, becoming pregnant without the benefit of marriage and having to cope with the consequences. Her mind had little to do with what happened, however. She got swept up in emotion, the exact situation she didn't want for her children. She loved Efie, the man who had sired her child, and she thought he loved her. When faced with the news of her pregnancy, he decided differently and disappeared. Unwed mothers were not treated kindly in her community. In fact, they were often lucky to survive. One of Mary's relatives by marriage had not. The best that a woman could hope for was to suffer the shame she brought upon her family. Mary knew she'd have to find a man who was willing to marry her and find him fast.

Joseph lived nearby and had always been attentive. Although she hadn't thought of him as a possible mate before she knew he'd thought of her that way. Since it looked like it was going to be Joseph or no one, she told him her whole sad story. He said he would marry her but it wasn't an easy decision. Joseph had loved her from afar, always knowing that Mary wasn't interested. When all of a sudden she acted like he was the answer to her worst nightmare, his pride was injured. Nevertheless, his respect for self and love for her were potent enough to overrule any nagging doubts, and they wed.

Did an angel come to Mary on a roof and tell her she'd bear the Son of God?

Mary found an angel but not on any roof. She went to her in a fit of panic when she thought she was pregnant. This woman told her to find a husband immediately if she didn't want to suffer the pain and humiliation that a righteous, God-fearing community would rain down upon an unmarried pregnant woman.

The Bible says that Jesus was the Son of God, not man.

Everyone is the Son of God since everyone is spirit in reality and human in illusion. It's just that people began to think of Jesus as special at the end of his life because he understood the nature of spirit so well. But he was conceived the same way you were.

Did Joseph's family support his marriage?

He didn't discuss it with them before the fact. After the fact, they had plenty to say. As far as they were concerned, Joseph had made a fool of himself. And Mary had made her own social blunder by accepting his offer. But Mary had a dilemma. How could she explain that she'd married a man below her station simply because she?d been foolish enough to chase a man above her station? She was headstrong but she wasn't stupid. She couldn't think of any good reason to be honest since nothing would change if she were. But Joseph was willing to trust her integrity regardless of the trouble she'd gotten herself into. He was also willing to believe that his need to be happy was more important than his need to please his elders.

Although Mary had known Joseph on a casual basis for years and always respected him, love was longer in coming. First, she had to stop fretting over what she'd lost and appreciate what she had. Efie had awakened the passionate side of her nature and for that reason alone was hard to forget. Joseph turned out to be a kind and thoughtful husband, a devoted father, and a true and caring friend. Mary quickly learned a broader meaning for the word love.

Efie eventually returned only to learn that Joseph and Mary had married and left town. Mary didn't see him again for years. They reconnected after Jesus returned from solitude when Efie heard a rumor that a man called Jesus was performing miracles and healing the sick. Upon learning that Jesus was the firstborn child of that union, he was sure he was the father. Then he began to think that perhaps he'd made a mistake by disappearing before. Here was this son of his making quite a name for himself as a healer. He wanted to share in all that glory.

When he found Mary, he apologized for losing his courage all those years before. There was nothing to forgive as far as she was concerned. Mary had long since made peace with his decision. In terms of her pregnancy, she knew that both of them were responsible. More than any aggression on his part, her willfulness had brought it about. She was determined even in those days. But she did have worries: What am I going to say to Jesus? How will Joseph handle this development? Will my children think less of me? Will Efie talk to others? Will he be believed?

Mary had every fear that a woman in this situation could possibly have but the terror only came from her own lack of faith. As soon as she realized why fear was stalking her, she talked to Jesus. He heard her out, took her in his arms, and said how glad he was that she had found the courage to tell the truth. Jesus assured her that from that moment forth the burden would end and the truth would be a blessing.

Surprisingly, Jesus accepted this revelation easily. With a keen sense of self and a keen sense of all that pertained to his life, he suspected something like this already. But he did the same thing with this information he'd been doing all along?nothing. Together, Joseph and Mary told the rest of the family. Each child handled it differently, but all were supportive and sure that the strength of their union would see them through any threatening crises. None developed because as soon as Mary brought the facts out into the open, there was nothing more to fear. Efie did what he'd come to do: get to know his son. Jesus welcomed him with the same friendliness he gave to everyone because by then, Jesus saw everyone as family. Mary was delighted, too, because a potentially bad situation had turned into a miracle.

The presence of another man besides Joseph is not the story most people know, Charlie.

What makes sense to you? If Joseph were the man who had fathered Mary's child and everyone accepted that, would she have left the nourishment of family and friends and gone off to heaven knows where in the middle of her pregnancy with nothing to show but the clothes on her back? She needed a strong motivation to push her out of the nest I assure you. She was young, and while she was smart enough to know how to help herself, she wasn't any seasoned warrior.

Did Mary and Joseph leave their home because of feeling threatened?

No, they left because her family ignored their marriage and his family bombarded them with criticism. They decided that a new start would benefit their union. ...

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