Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mary's Eyes

The docent has three little girls line up and introduces them as Mary, Laura and Carrie. She explains that Mary contracted Strep Throat, which turned in to Scarlett Fever, which turned in to Encephalitis, or perhaps Spinal Meningitis. The end result is that Mary is now blind. Pa turns to Laura and declares to her, "Now you must paint pictures with words and let Mary see through them."
And as I watch these beautiful girls standing in for Mary, Laura and Carrie I am overwhelmed with the tragedy that this family experienced and the gift that the world has received because of it. I wonder about Mary. Perhaps one day she felt God's presence strongly and prayed, "God, whatever you need from me, take. Whatever I have, use. Have your way in my life." Perhaps Mary's prayers are as much a part of the legacy of the "Little House" books as Laura's gift for writing. Perhaps the stories are so meaningful to us because they show us strength and resolution, courage and tenacity, a vision for something beyond our selves. Pa was a humble man, and Ma a humble woman, and yet they helped settle a country, start a church and a school and a community and a state. They were leaders in the truest sense of the word. And we get to know about it, perhaps because Mary prayed a humble prayer and God used Mary's willingness to sacrifice all that she had as training ground for her sister who become one of the most beloved authors of her time.

Perhaps the Rabbi of Bethlehem 2 centuries ago prayed a similar prayer, "Master of the Universe, use our humble town, use what little we have for your Kingdom. Use us in some small way to fight back against the oppressive brutality of the Romans. Use us to bring peace on earth." Praying in faith little knowing that their innocent children would be slaughtered, giving a cover of anonymity for 30 years to Jesus, who was whisked away from the scene of brutality by his earthly father and mother, who is the Prince of Peace. The slaughter of innocents could be a story of a community committed to bringing about God's Kingdom on earth.

Perhaps that is how it is with our prayers of true humility. We pray for the Lord to use us, and He does, but it is often as the anonymous donor in a much greater drama than we can even imagine. I just wonder.