“My first trip to Jerusalem?” the old woman said. “It was about six weeks after the birth of my son. It was about half a day from Bethlehem where we were staying.”
“Why were you going there?” the researcher asked. His body was relaxed, his voice calm. He had been having these conversations with people for years. He knew that the best way to get answers was to go along on a memory journey with people, asking just enough questions to help them retrace their hearts.
“We were going there to finish the purification requirements after my first child,” she said. “Since we were so close, it made sense to go to the temple itself. It was a privilege. Almost as if God gave us a gift for having had to travel so far away from home while I was expecting.”
“Did you offer the child to G-d as well?” the researcher asked. “Since he was your firstborn, and was, well, unique.”
“As a matter of fact, we did,” she said. “It was the right thing to do. Even though it didn’t seem necessary. But when you are in the middle of miracles and disruption, the routines provide some direction, some order.”
“So, was there anything special about that dedication?” he asked.
The woman laughed. “Didn’t anyone tell you? About the way we were accosted in the outer courtyard?”
He shook his head. “That’s why I wanted to talk with you,” he said. “In all the attention that has been paid the things your son said and did, I wanted to talk with his mother to hear her perspective.”
The woman smiled. “I think that you may be fishing for more than I’m willing to say. But in his earliest days, there were some remarkable conversations with people. At the time, I thought about them a lot. They didn’t make sense. But now they do. And it’s time that someone heard them.”
Luke nodded, but resisted the urge to speak. He knew that talking with Mary was important. He just hadn’t realized how important. Until this moment.