Eve and Mary: A Correspondence

A dialogue between two mothers of the faith.

I heard your son was killed today,
and forgive my presumptuousness.
I know the kindness of strangers
can be vicious
but I too had a beautiful baby boy
My deepest sympathies
from one mother to another.


I thank you for your note of condolence.
Please forgive me if I took a while to respond.
There is so much to do, you know, after a death,
and no one quite knows what the etiquette is
for a resurrection.
They say my son rose from the dead.
They say he walked to Emmaus.
They say he went out to dinner with his friends.
But he didn’t come to see me.
And I cannot shake the feeling
that it was not my little Jesus
who returned.


Dear Mary,
I cannot begin to know
what you are going through.
I expect the whole world
is baffled by death’s defeat.
But I do know what it is
to lose a son who’s living.
For my Abel was killed
by my Cain.
I lie awake at nights and wonder
if ever I hugged Abel just a second longer
than I hugged Cain.
If ever I gave Abel three pomegranate seeds
and Cain just two.
So Cain still walks the earth
and the only thing I want more
than to see him dead for murdering my Abel
is to have him home safe again.


My heart breaks for you,
and for me.
The stories about my Jesus
seem to have trickled away.
His friends hang around my house
and they want to continue his work
and Peter wants to trot me out
as a figurehead.
For morale, he says.
But I need more than forty days
to grieve.
Tell me, does it ever get easier?


It never gets easier.


Dear Eve,
There is so much excitement here.
Jesus’ friends, they talk in whispers
and in tongues
and there are tongues of fire in their eyes.
In their voices I hear God
calling me to a new path.
But after I had walked the old one so faithfully
it is hard to swerve.


Dearest Mary,
They say you are a second me—
a better me—
so I know you’ll make it okay.
Because if there’s one thing I can say
about myself
it’s that I kept going.
Through nakedness and curse,
through rejection and banishment,
though pain and death,
I kept going.
And so will you.
And God
be with you.


Beloved Eve,
If I am a second you,
then it is a highest honor.
My sister, my friend, my mother.
You have shared your Chavah with me,
and I begin to feel
as if I have the strength
to care for these grandchildren—
Jews and Gentiles, sons and daughters,
slaves and free men and women—
Jesus has left me with.
And when I say my prayers
and talk to my beautiful boy
I will remember your sons
and pray they are at peace.
And I will pray for you,
as you have prayed for me.

Yours in Christ,







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