Barely into the New Year, I’m stuck in a low-lit corner, trying not to listen to a few hens gossiping about a friend of mine. I manage to tune them out a few times, but the squawking gets louder and louder to where I’ve out-twiddled my thumbs trying to disengage from this thing called good hearing.
My friend has experienced enough horror to roughen her edges, but she certainly doesn’t deserve the judgments spewed out over coffee. If these hens only knew, they’d be knitting their lips together.
But it’s not my story to tell.
This reminds me about the finance experts when they say a person’s values are reflected by their bank statement—like what it means when a woman spends most of her spare money on clothes. They would say she values her vanity over all else. They might even suggest she’s not educated enough to manage her money well.
But her bank statement leaves out quite a bit. Maybe she has to look nice, but can’t afford nice clothes, so she buys inexpensive outfits that need to be replaced every six months. Maybe she gets treated better when she puts on makeup and spends more time on her hair (as many woman have experienced). Her bank account doesn’t reflect her interests because she reads books and newspapers from the library—so maybe the financial experts think she’s vain when the real story is she’s struggling.
Can you imagine what the hens and bulls of Nazareth said about Mary when she conceived a child before marrying Joseph? You can bet they looked at her belly and assumed a little too much. If it wasn’t for Joseph’s grace, she would have been stoned to death.
I think of all the qualities that Mary and Joseph illustrated–courage, faith, trust, grace, perseverance–and remember the only opinion we need is that of the Greatest Expert.