I adore my backyard Mary statue. She is the very picture of serenity there, in her little corner. She looks over my impatiens (I’ve planted them in pots at her feet the last three summers; I love the bright colors against her whiteness) and watches the soccer games of the boys and surveys all the comings and goings of the Moyer family as we grill and eat and relax with books and pull weeds and spray for ants (the reality of life in the garden, you know?). She just looks out over it all, calmly.
There was a time when this image of Mary, the very traditional one, was the last thing I’d have wanted in my yard. I associated it with old patriarchal attitudes and a very two-dimensional view of women. But over the last eight years, as I’ve gotten to know Mary better, I’ve reclaimed this image. Yes, I love the more modern images of Mary — they always seem to remind me that she was a real woman — but I love this one, too. If you look at pictures of Mary across time and across cultures, you know that she shows up in so many different faces, and outfits, and skin tones, and postures. No one image captures all of who she is.
But to me, a thirty-seven-year-old working mom with way too much on my plate, this graceful white statue is all about peacefulness and serenity. Those are two qualities that often are missing in my own life, with its nutty schedule. That’s why I love her. I love having her there on the patio, a patient woman in a bower of flowers, a quiet eye in the whirlwind of my life.