She gripped the coins in a hand weathered by years and by work in a world which was hard and didn’t much care. With the other she pulled her cloak tightly about her, protecting her from dusty streets and unforgiving wind. Although threadbare and patched, her coat would, she knew, have to last for as many more years as she did. There would simply be no replacing her garment once it finally gave way.
The streets of the city were busy and alive, filled with people and noise. Children gave chase, weaving in and among their elders; uninterested in the conversations surrounding them or the business of the day. Merchants and tradesmen cried out, motioning nearby travelers to look, see, and buy. The faint bleating of lambs sounded in the distance; lambs which she knew were being kept for sacrifice.
She remembered the years of walking these streets with others; young and hopeful, her husband by her side. Since death claimed him, she’d continued making the trip on her own, quietly; prayerfully. There was no question of her not coming, of not offering something.
Those around her paid little notice, her obscurity here was as familiar to her as in her own neighborhood. She wondered what others might think, had any taken notice of her. “They’d probably think I was foolish,” she thought, “making the trip into the city with so little to offer.”
She didn’t trouble herself to care about what others might think. But she was tired, hungry, and worn. The little she had with her would scarcely provide anything for her to eat. She knew, when she returned home, there would be nothing waiting for her there.
The line in front of her was long and moved slowly. She waited and watched as others before her brought their offerings. Many carried multiple sacks, some of which seemed quite heavy. Their faces beamed as they emptied the contents into the temple treasury.
“May their offerings be used to bring help and hope to many,” she prayed in silence.
As she made her way into the temple, she found herself wishing there hadn’t been so many others around. All she wanted was to come and quietly present her offerings to God, for the care and relief of others. What else could she offer, but her own poverty?
She reached her hand toward the box, letting go of the two small coins she’d held tight, and turned to walk away from the temple toward home. She hadn’t given much.
She gave all.
A retelling of the parable of the widow’s mites from Mark 12:41-44, prompted by Peter Pollock’s One Word At a Time Carnival. This week’s word: Much.
And joining emily and her community @ imperfect prose: