Listen to the piece before reading the remainder of this post, please.
hagar & ishamael :: without a doubt, the most influential and moving musical influence upon my new motherhood.
I guess it’s about time I admit on the blog that I work in Christian ministry (egads!!). So I’m familiar, to say the least, with the SaraiAbramIsaacHagarIshmael saga. In the past, I read this piece and considered neither woman admirable. I pictured Hagar as a scheming, bratty girl, and Sarai as a shriveled, tight-bunned English woman.
Haha. Sorry, England. You guys have great mysteries, though. And pretty royals who resurrect habadashery.
Now I cannot hear this piece without being physically affected. I have a son. When he was first born I did not repeat, “I have a baby,” nor did I introduce him or refer to him as “my baby.” Rather, I would look down at his round face and whisper, “my son. I have a son.” Over and over and over and over and over. It marks an entire shift in my own identity. I am not just a mother, but a mother of a son. This son. I cannot convey how much this one word, son, has altered my reality and my character.
And when I listen to this piece, for the first time I see Hagar as a servant girl being pulled into this awkward and unappealing union. Rightly so, she demanded respect from Sarai after her son was born :: has her own mind, too ::. I imagine she demanded respect especially for her son, and also understandably though with less empathy on my part, I see Sarai being ticked by this turn of events.
Oh servant you should run
and take with you your son
And then to be cast off. To be replaced. To offer the son the last food your body can muster and see him starving at the end of it, finally unable to watch anymore, throwing oneself on the ground yet within earshot of the wailing babe. Wanting to die because he is dying.
I know now that I must do anything for the good of my son. How vulnerable that makes me, how fragile and yet how strong :: a servant of the lord though you do not see a servant of the lord will you always be :: Even though she’s not part of the plan. She’s not chosen. She’s a mistake. And yet, she is seen, given a promise and reminded of her worth.
I share nothing in common with Hagar but this form of motherhood, but it is enough to shift my perspective and now admire this servant girl. And lastly, to admire the providence that accompanies her though she is not part of the plan per se. I think of every babe who wasn’t part of the plan, and I find in this passage, this song, affirmation of their existence, their life, their singular purpose, their worth.
Thank you for reading, friends.