Sister Marianne Ferguson
We might wonder why Mary hurried so to visit her cousin in the Hill country. It’s only recently that unwed mothers have been favorably received in most cultures. When I was growing up, a girl who found herself pregnant before marriage went to “visit an aunt in California” until the baby was born. But Mary also left town to help Elizabeth as part of what must have developed into a fruitful and refreshing relationship between two adult women. Remember, Zachary, Elizabeth’s husband, could not talk.
We might muse on the conversation of these two women who were bearing children of promise. Were they overwhelmed with the privilege, or humbled by such a gift, or just fearful of such responsibilities? As women of faith it is likely that they took their responsibilities seriously and began to make clothes for their new babies.
Imagine the depth of sharing between these two women in an adult relationship. Looking upon friendship as a gift of God, it’s likely they discussed their responsibilities toward these children and toward their husbands. We also should consider their faith —they both faced supernatural messengers who changed the course of their whole lives. Both Mary and Elizabeth must have been grateful for the support they gave and received from each other in their adult relationship of friendship.
We likewise can be grateful for our friends both in and outside of community who are ready to support us in our needs. Looking upon friendship as a gift of God, we too can be grateful for those who share with us our fears, our questions, and our expectations as we move into a new environment and lifestyle. There is consolation in knowing that we, like Mary and Elizabeth, must use our faith to travel this new adventure in our lives.