Her mother laid her limp body gently on the beach and every one gathered around. “Mary, Mary! Oh God! Mary!” her mother cried. Her oldest sister had run back to their field to get her father. He pushed through the crowd to where her mother knelt on the beach beside her. He dropped to his knees and cradled Mary’s face in his hands. Her mother rocking back and forth, began to pray, it sounded like she was singing.
“Mary,” her father whispered. “Mary, look at me. Listen to me Mary. You are meant to be here. Mary, you are not finished yet. There is something more waiting for you here Mary.”
He thought he saw her eyes flutter. He rolled her onto her side and began pounding on her back with his palm. “Mary, Mary! Wake up Mary!” he yelled.
Her chest hurt and her eyes shot open and she coughed up a mix of mucous, sand and water.
A few minutes later, her mother held her tight, tears streaming down her cheeks. “Do not be afraid, Mary. Do not be afraid,” she kept repeating, running her hands over Mary’s head along her hair. Mary didn’t say anything. She kept her eyes closed and nuzzled against her mother’s chest, where she could hear her heart beat.
Mary didn’t know the carpenter’s family was also on the beach that day. Their youngest son, Joseph, standing at the back of the crowd, was praying for the first time, for the beautiful little girl.
* * *
“Mary,” said the angel.
Mary spoke softly, “I understand. I will trust God.”
The angel disappeared.
Mary bowed her head down to the floor and what began as a quiet hum developed into a song, without words.
* * *