Joseph’s head broke off.
My son, my older one, runs everywhere (actually, they both do, but the older one is the culprit in this story). He ran by the nativity scene in our hallway, FAST. Of course, our nativity was purchased pre-kids so it is fragile, breakable, and utterly inappropriate for a house full of loud little boys.
He ran past.
He ran past fast.
And then cried, “OH NO! IT BROKE!”
I had already heard the clatter. Upon my arrival I immediately saw that blood and broken bones were not present. But Joseph’s head was off. Joseph’s body was laid out nearby, still with his hand to his heart and his shepherd’s hook clutched tight.
I just sighed.
All I could think, immediately, and shamefully, was, “yeah, of course, Joseph. Meh. At least it wasn’t Jesus…or Mary…or one of the wise men…”
It was just Joseph, I thought.
I mean, he is not critical to the whole scene laid out in my house every year, right?
What did he really do anyhow? He probably just left Mary with a bunch of dirty laundry… or dirty mangers … or whatever. These were the days pre-bottle so you KNOW that Joseph didn’t take over one of those late, midnight feedings. He didn’t stick the baby in the stroller and head out for a walk so that Mary could get in a quick nap. He certainly didn’t head to the local Harris Teeter. In fact, Mary was probably grinding all the wheat and making all the bread while Joseph sat on his rawhide chair and read parchments.
Joseph wasn’t even at the party where Jesus was conceived. He wasn’t even in the biblical scene where the angel appeared and broke the news that Mary was about to birth a baby without ever first enjoying the cardinal sins of the flesh. Poor girl didn’t even get a spring break or a honeymoon extravaganza. She got an angel and a “everyone is going to think you are crazy.” You think you play the “what if I never had kids” game, think of Mary!
So, really, what was Joseph to the whole scene that was sitting out, poorly placed it seems, in my foyer? God sent him a second, follow-up, postscript kind of angel visit. It seems to me like if a head had to roll, it would be his.
Important point to clarify:
You should know that this incident happened while my husband was away on a week long trip to a foreign country. We got on a Google Hangout and he shared stories of late night drinking at a table with its own tap, of long 4-hour dinners, of views of the Danube River (which I still haven’t seen).
Maybe I was primed to be in a place where Joseph losing his head seemed mildly apropos.
But you see, my husband came home. Yes, he brought a bunch of dirty laundry with him and he didn’t make dinner tonight and I didn’t get to sleep in this morning.
YET, our life is right again.
With him around, there is balance. Life is managed better. My kids get to wrestle again, which they desperately need for some primal reason and which activity I royally stink at (I don’t need divine intervention to tell me that that is not my talent). The so-called yin and yang comes back to our household now that he is back. I can stare beatifically down at our kids but someone needs to grip that shepherd’s crook and get THAT look in their eyes.
Thus, I super glued Joseph’s head back on.
Because the Bible keeps Joseph around.
Because our family needs Joseph.
Because every kid needs a Joseph.
And it turns out Joseph does better with a head.
Post inspired by Love, Jaime. 5 minutes. Stream of Consciousness writing. Go see her, she is fantastic and this challenge is releasing something in me that I love honoring. As I have never said before: if you are going to journal, why not do so publicly?