Full of Grace (16)

Mary sighs and smiles. Elizabeth knew and she didn’t even have to explain. She lets herself relax, as if a weight had been taken off her shoulders and she allows the emotions burst forth from her heart.

“I await his fulfillment,” she begins, “The breath of my being makes great the name of the Lord, and his joy expands within me, his handmaiden. Because he has gazed conspicuously upon me with favor, people from all ages will say I have attained the blessedness of the heavens; they will make my name supreme because G-d’s name is sacred.

“His mercy persists through the ages to those who fear him and this is a mighty deed he has done. He has scattered the proud and toppled the mighty from their thrones. He has exalted the lowly and satisfied the hungry with good things, though he sends the rich away empty. G-d has helped his Israel, just as he spoke to Abraham and his descendants, and fulfilled his promise for the mashaic through me.”

Though her heart soars, Mary finds herself drained, weaker. But Elizabeth is there to support her and the two women embrace again. Mary hangs on tightly, happy to have an ally, glad she is not alone in this.

Then she feels a slight jab to her midsection and remembers Elizabeth’s pregnancy. She pulls away and looks down at her doda’s belly, heavy with child. A child, she realizes, who has just kicked her. Mary laughs and lets her hands slide down Elizabeth’s arm, to her protuding womb.

“G-d is great, is he not?” Elizabeth says, her voice filled with awe and wonder.

“I had almost forgotten.” Mary turns her gaze up. Elizabeth is older than Anna and the years show. Her hair is peppered with grey streaks and she has bags under her eyes; still her countenance shines like that of a young woman and her smile lights up the room. She is more beautiful now than last time Mary saw her.

“I can’t help but marvel at the goodness of G-d, every time I feel the child move,” Elizabeth laughs, placing her hand on her belly. “Every time this old body creaks. They called me barren, but now – now I am going to be a mother.”

Mary smiles, happy to be a part of her aunt’s joy.

“Oh, but listen to me go on and on like an old cow,” Elizabeth says, turning Mary back towards the door. “Look at you. You’ve grown up to be a beautiful young woman. And favored. Certainly your abba and imma are proud. There must be an iyshah, a husband, now, too, right? Where are they?”

Mary stops and looks away. She had been so worried about Elizabeth believing her, she had forgotten she would have to explain her presence there.

“You know what?” Elizabeth says, her tone softer. Mary turns back to her and can see the understanding in her eyes. “Let’s get you settled. You can wash up and eat. Then we can talk.”

Mary nods, grateful.

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