Story, Value, and Becoming More Real
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After Rembrandt’s “Simeon and Anna in the Temple”

September 6, 2022

Leslie Bustard

. . . and a sword shall pierce through your soul.”

Maybe Mary missed those shocking details 

Simeon spoke as she looked at Jesus 

in his ancient arms. With her memories  

of angels and shepherds, one could understand 

weariness at his unexpected words.

Except, she was in the habit of

listening to astonishing and strange

prophecies—as if she knew the ways of the

world were revealed through donkeys and old men.

(I think I would have asked him one or two

questions and maybe for a timeline.) Yet

young Mary had been learning that even 

as a small candle breaks the shadowed dark, 

hard paths are lightened by sustaining grace. 

This year I have been greatly intrigued and encouraged by Marys faith and her trusting God as he called her to walk some hard and unknown paths. Thinking of her (and then of Jesus following in her footsteps of submitting to the Fathers plans) has been a help to me as I have lived more than two years with cancer and an unknown future. 

Featured image is courtesy of Carolyn V (Sixteen Miles Out) via Unsplash. We are grateful for her generosity.


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  1. Donna P says:

    Leslie, what a beautiful, insightful poem. “Hard paths are lightened by sustaining grace.” Such a testament of what you have been going through. We studied this scene at Troy’s table in the Barn and it was wondrous. Thanks for sharing your heart with us Leslie.💕

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