It’s a very special and wonderful moment when someone learns that they’re going to become a new parent. Yet first-time moms and dads can be apprehensive too. They may worry: “Am I up to the job? How will I juggle work and family? Will my baby be okay? How is my life going to change? Can we afford this?” Expectant parents can feel overwhelmed by their new responsibilities. Some even suffer depression.
Given this, we can appreciate how Mary may have felt at the Annunciation.
Father Hurd has a unique perspective on this day. As a former Episcopal priest converted to Catholicism, he is both “Father” and “Dad.”
And he’s right. I remember the day I found out I was going to be a dad—the exact words Julia said to me are also the first line of my book. At the time I was already overwhelmed by the responsibility of fatherhood. I had no idea we’d be dealing with cleft surgery or speech therapy. If I had, it might have been too much.
Just as it would have been too much if the angel had told Mary about the crucifixion. No, that news would have to wait until the day Mary brought the infant Jesus to the temple and Simeon told her about the sword that would pierce her heart. Even then, Simeon’s message was vague and Mary only fully understood it at the foot of the cross.
It’s a hard thing to say “not my will but yours” when it comes to your child. Had Mary had her way, Jesus would have been merely an earthly king instead of the Savior of the World—and the rest of us would have been out of luck.
And had I had my way, Anna would have been born without a cleft, and learned to speak at the same time most kids do. She’d have been a beautiful girl, and we would have loved her all the same, but she wouldn’t have been our Anna. For all the difficulties we’ve faced, I wouldn’t change anything.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8) Easy enough to accept, until things don’t go the way you want them to.