The Visit

I lived in Israel for nearly two years in a little place called Ein Kerem. The convent and guest house where I volunteered lay in a valley dotted with olive and almond trees. On the hillside stood the Church of the Visitation, the place commemorating where, by tradition, Elizabeth and Mary visited.

visitI walked there so many times to sit and look at this mural inside the church. I loved imagining their visit.

These two woman,
an aged one, Elizabeth,
spent a lifetime trying to claim her dignity as a childless women.
For years, waiting, dreaming, hoping, longing, –
and then a late-in-life pregnancy.


These two women,
a young one, Mary,
life whirling out of control and carrying the life of another in her so fragile self,
fleeing with haste to her distant cousin Elizabeth
who would just know what to say, and what to do.

And they meet.

You see them in their pregnant selves leaning in and holding.

Holding within them their two tiny unborn ones who would break out into the world
and with their birth make all the difference;
one to prepare the way and the other Way.

What are we holding within us?

Each tiny act,
each little word,
each small gift,
each bit of money,
each kind thought,
each warm hug,
is a leaning into one another that makes a difference.

That’s what is in us.

Young folks with nimble limbs and bright eyes are part of the leaning.
Old folks with bent backs and tired eyes are part of the leaning.

New life is leaping between.


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  1. Love this leaning in and leaping between….

  2. Wonderful imagery Janice! Thank-you!

  3. I loved your lines re the Visitation Scene; they brought back clear and fond memories of my visit there in 2011. My best to you in your new mission.

  4. Thanks Margaret. Indeed it is a joy to remember being there.

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