More from In The Midst of Chaos by Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore

Pondering – To think about something carefully over a period of time. To weigh things in your mind.

Mothers ponder.

We are not told details of Jesus’ early life through the eyes of Mary but we are told that she pondered the mystery and wonder of Jesus’ birth. Again, when she and Joseph must retrace their steps to Jerusalem to find their missing son, she must come to terms with an extraordinary child who has spent three days debating scripture with wise men at the temple and who then in obedience returns to grow to adulthood in her house. These were things that needed to be thought out. As the author states:

Here in the small word ponder is an image of a mother in turbulent spiritual waters, wading through the emotional swings of care, who…feels “stunned by wonder and stung by worry. (p. 47)

The author commends Luke for not trying to put words into Mary’s mouth. This was not a case of Mary being passively silent, just that there was too much to put it all into words. Instead Mary stored up the feelings and memories of these events, mused on their meaning, weighed the immensity of the events in her mind and sought a deeper understanding of them.

I like this bit:

Keeping thoughts in one’s heart means keeping them at the core of one’s being. Wisdom is located at the juncture of physical desire and mental aspiration – not when one transcends the body and world, as modern scientific rationalism and some Christians assume. Pondering connects thought and action. (p.48)

A bit further on she also observes:

Mary becomes one of the first theologians of the Christian tradition, turning over and over in her mind just who this child is and what God has to do with it. She does so in the very midst of her mothering – not when she moves away from it all. (p.49)

Essential to the way that mothers think and ponder is the way that mothers care for their children with “attentive love”. Parents attend to the needs of their child with a kind of “patient hovering” keeping the needs of the child at the forefront of their consciousness as they go about life.

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