Monday Rewrite: Second Cousins

Two women talk in relatively hushed tones. They are both going to be mothers. One has a husband and a secure home. The other has worrying and unknown times ahead. One is happily and amazingly pregnant, against all the odds. One is shockingly and unexpectedly pregnant, her happily planned future in serious doubt. Both have been courageous, faithful and obedient. Now one is there to comfort and strengthen the other.

Mary: I’m scared.

Liz: (instinctively stroking her own pregnant stomach) It will be all right.

Mary: Will it? Will it? Who’ll ever believe me? When I left and came to see you I was hardly showing, and now… well it’s obvious isn’t it? I’ll go back there and Joseph will see, the moment I step down from the cart. He’ll know. And he’ll wonder what I’ve been up to. And how I could have possibly…

Liz: If this is of God, and you know it is, just as I know it is… then it can’t end in disaster. Remember what happened when I saw you coming up the path? Three months ago… I had no idea did I? Couldn’t have done. And yet I saw you and I knew immediately. That you were carrying a baby inside. And not just any baby. Don’t you think that was a sign? God’s confirmation to you?

Mary: (nodding) I know. You’re right. But I can’t stop thinking about what people will say. Joseph will never marry me now. How can I ever convince him that this is God’s planning?

Liz: You can’t. Of course you can’t. But he will find out, the same way I knew. God will do it. I can’t promise it’ll be easy. But it’ll be all right. Maybe that angel will pitch up again! Leap out and give him a shock!

Mary: I’ll be stained forever won’t it? People will talk and make up rumours and the mud will stick.

Liz: Mary! Slow down! Slow down there with your fretting. What did that angel say to you? Remind yourself.

Mary: Don’t be frightened.

Liz: Exactly. And look! If nothing else – look at me! With a baby on the way at my age! I’ve got an idea – you should stay and see the birth. See the miracle. It’ll give you strength.

Mary: Has Zechariah said anything yet?

Liz: Hmm. (frowning) No. That is disconcerting. I’m worried he might be silent forever now. Maybe things will change when John is born. Ooh. (she holds her stomach)

Mary: What? Are you all right? Is the baby moving?

Liz: No. I just fancy a fish and fig sandwich. I get cravings for those these days.

Mary: John? You’re calling him John? Where did that name come from?

Liz: Same place yours came from. The angel. Jesus and John. Second cousins. Who’d have thought it eh? So Miss Mary, next time you start panicking about the future remember that it’s in God’s hands. If I can go having a baby called John then you’ll be surely having a son called Jesus. And both of them are going to grow up and be extraordinary.

Mary: I just wish it was easier.

Liz: So does everyone Mary. It’s life. Sometimes full of the unexpected. Come on, let’s go and find a fish and fig sarnie.

Inspired by Luke chapter 1

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