There’s Something about Mary, Part 2

There’s Something about Mary, Part 2

You’re wondering about Mary.

At least, I hope you are wondering about Mary.  We all have people like her in our lives, and I hope that we never give up on loving them, praying for them, and wondering about them.

Mary and I go way back.  Well, like ten months.

As you know if you read Part 1, I ran into Mary every morning on my walk to school, where I taught high school English until very recently (as in, two months ago).  Only she wasn’t Mary.  To me, she was just the crazy lady to whom I said hi, and who always asked me, her face friendly and open, for a cigarette.

It didn’t matter that I don’t smoke, nor that I hadn’t had a cigarette the last twenty times she asked.  Mary held on to hope.

Except, she was still not-Mary.  Unnamed and nameless.  Until one night at Bible Study.

My friend Larry was asking us to pray for one of his employees.  He owns a small business, and is in the lovely habit of hiring the unhireable – people who show up late to work, who need slow careful instruction, who require constant redirection.  He asked us to pray for Mary, whom he was pretty sure was smoking again even though he had helped her to quit.

“Wait,” I said.  “Does she live in my neighborhood?”

“Yes; yes she does,” said Larry, and described her apartment complex to me.

“I know that lady!  I love her!  She asks me for a cigarette every morning on my way to school!”

“Hey!” said my husband, Erik, who also teaches at the same school, and who also walks (though at a different time than me).  “I know her too!  She is great!  She asks me for a cigarette everyday too!”

We all start laughing.  This was too much fun.

But there was more, for Ken, yet another teacher at our school, said, “Oh, I know Mary too!  She likes to kind of hang around by my auto shop when we have the doors open.”

Please invite yourself to our Bible Study for a moment: twelve people sitting in a cozy living room, struck silly with disbelief – the special kind of disbelief that knows that all things are possible with God.

We came to one conclusion: God must love Mary a lot.  He put four people into one small room, just so they could discover that they all knew her, and loved her, and were excited to know how to pray for her.

This is how I don’t lose hope about people, even when they ask me for snow or throw litter out their car windows or allow bitterness to color their relationships.  Because all of us are “Mary” to someone, all of us have a group of people laughing to discover that they all know and love the same person, and all of us have been called to pray.

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