Hannah’s hope: Eli’s affirmation

One last story about Hannah and me before Sunday.

Eli saw Hannah praying in the temple, and assumed that she was drunk, because her lips were moving but she made no sound. He tried to send her away; but she explained her distress and her petition, and he recognized the deep truth of her relationship with God and with her calling and with her future, and he blessed her instead.

“Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made.”

When I came back off the mountain, and back from vacation, and went to my doctor to tell her about the positive pregnancy test, she was happy for me. She did the usual intake stuff, scheduled the follow-up appointments.

She knew my history. She knew me. These days, she is no longer a doctor, but a priest. Somehow, I am not surprised. Because, as I was leaving, she said, very, very softly,

“It will be alright this time.”

As a physician, perhaps she had no right to make such sweeping promises. As a priest in potentia, she offered the hope that she recognized, that she lived by, that was her own.

I remain grateful.

Hannah trusted Eli enough to send him her son when he was old enough to leave his mother. He had given her hope. That counts for a lot. Sometimes, it is everything.

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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