Monday 28 December 2015

No Room in the Inn

Thinking seasonally, it suddenly seemed to me that the story of the search for a place for Mary to give birth may actually be as significant as the birth, itself.  No, don't protest yet: see what you think after I have had a go at explaining. The whole question of acceptability and confidence which comes with knowing who and where you are must be fundamental to human well-being, don't you think? The symbolic possibilities in the situation in which the Holy Family found themselves are endless. As we can't help but notice, there is currently a mind-blowing number of people on this planet without homes. More than just being without, they are exiled and destitute. It must be inconceivable to live any kind of 'ordinary' life in these circumstances. Giving birth on a dinghy will surely have echoes of giving birth in a barn.

 From those thoughts evolved  thoughts about  rejection, of feeling not wanted anywhere by anyone. People who find themselves in the wrong body, those who turn out to be a disappointment to those supposed to love and like them most must  constantly feel as if  forced in to an out-building on the farm of life. At all levels and in countless predicaments this feeling proves the rocky bed on which survival scrambles to take a hold. I have watched a cat of my acquaintance, who had an unsettled and unreliable early start in life grow from anger, fear and unreachability, even using his host's carpet as a litter tray, in to a joyful, lovable master of all he surveys. He lies unguarded, all the yard (meter) of him, on forbidden surfaces and greets in-comers with a sweet welcome and an invitation to play. I am not sure that humans with similar backgrounds would be able so genuinely and completely to overcome such an unpromising early life. It seems to me that not feeling wanted becomes a sort of fault-line. Thereafter, it is only too easy to regard a perceived rejection as being due to an inadequacy or characteristic in oneself that makes one unwantable. The pivotal thing about Mary, I think, was that she had the support of her husband and a batch of kings and assorted others who turned up in time, it seems, to find her clean and tidy holding a Baby who, according to most depictions of Him, had the look of a baby at least three months old. There is never a sign of blood and gore nor the exhaustion one would have expected after such a difficult and insanitary confinement. Nor does Joseph ever look to me to be someone with the presence of mind and resourcefulness to cut the umbilical cord. Ah well, in such a story anything can be made possible. Veracity is not always preferable to imagination, or, as the saying goes, why spoil a good tale with the truth?  Bore da

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