As we continue the work of restoring our home in Ortley Beach, so heavily damaged from Sandy, it’s interesting to note what survived the storm that took whole houses from their foundations. A sentimental survival from our yard was a small cement statue of two frogs sitting on a love seat. My father, who gave the statue to my mom on the occasion of their 25th anniversary, had the umbrella under which the frogs sat painted with the anniversary dates of their wedding.
The statue is beat up, but the cracks and chips only serve to remind me of what life, and marriage, is all about. It also is a reminder, for me, of the two different people who were my parents. Two people who taught me many things, but each in their own way.
While my father taught me much with words, written and spoken, my mother taught me by her presence. Her gracious hospitality, her devotion to her family, her integrity, generosity and willingness to sacrifice for those she loved are all lessons I learned just from being in her presence.
A look at Scripture reveals the same for Mary. There are only four times in the Bible when we “hear” Mary’s words – when she speaks with the angel during the Annunciation, when she meets Elizabeth and she speaks the words of her Magnificat, when she finds Jesus in the temple and when she intervenes at the wedding in Cana.
Throughout the rest of the New Testament we come to know Mary simply through her devoted presence with Jesus throughout his ministry. We do not hear her speak, but we know she was there, in all the moments of his life, in the joy, in the disappointment, in the pain, in the grief.
As a mother, I have turned to Mary often as I travel those moments with my sons, and now their families, as well, continuing to draw strength and wisdom from Mary’s example.
When I consider the last words of Mary recorded in Scripture, I think that perhaps there was no reason to record any more, for her few last words reflect the most profound wisdom ever offered: Do whatever he tells you.
What else is there to say?