"Mary Untier of Knots" (detail) by Johann Georg Melchior

“Mary Untier of Knots” (detail) by Johann Georg Melchior

I’m not known for my flexibility.  It’s not just that I’m neither athletic nor interested in becoming more so.  It’s that I want my world situated into a planner, complete with alphabetized lists and prioritized to-dos.

It’s not that I don’t like surprises, as long as they come when I’ve planned for them (like at Christmas).  It’s not that I don’t like to be spontaneous, as long as I have allocated the time for it.

My husband is considerably less rigid than I am in his awareness of time.  Though I’ve argued for years that this makes us late, he maintains that there’s no reason to be somewhere earlier than on-time.

Add to this gentle misunderstanding a couple of kids, and it’s safe to say that, some days, I want to crawl under my desk, curl in a fetal position with a blankie, and suck my thumb until the chaos settles down into order.

Motherhood has done a great deal to make me more flexible, that’s for sure.  Where I used to balk at sudden trips to the store or unplanned meetings with friends, I now barely even protest.  I’ve learned to walk in late with a smile and to share my failures with a laugh.

My inspiration for this change of heart has been the Blessed Virgin Mary.

I’m sure she wasn’t as psycho-organized as I’d like to be, but imagine what disruption Gabriel brought to her life.  She didn’t ask for specifics (aside from wondering out loud how it could happen), she embraced the opportunity.  Rather than complain (as I would) about how much this little development messed up her plans and, really, her life, she offered herself even more.

She had quite a few unexpected challenges in her motherhood—the trip to Bethlehem, nine months pregnant; the flight to Egypt, not on a cozy plane but huddled on a donkey; the slow, painful walk to Golgotha as her Son carried the Cross.

Maybe Mary was a naturally organized person.  Maybe she found the pinpricks of spontaneity so common in motherhood to be a burden.  Maybe she just longed to have an orderly day.  Whether she did or not, Mary is certainly an inspiration for those of us who are still very much students in the flexibility department.

This week, when I find myself resisting the things that just crop up, I’m going to turn to Mary, grab her hand, and let her walk with me.

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