Once, long ago and far away, three wise men gave gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to a baby. Today, a wise woman gave me a gift of frankincense and myrrh, which could prove as valuable as gold if they work as promised to relieve the pain of my poorly functioning hand.
It seems odd to know of those ancient substances without ever knowing what they were or what they were for. Seems even odder to take the story of the wise men and their gifts for granted. I mean, really — would you bring something so obscure to a baby shower? No, you’d stick with something practical like . . . I don’t know . . . whatever is practical to give to a baby. But perhaps those aromatics weren’t merely valued for their scents. (I think that is what we were told, I don’t really remember.) Maybe the frankincense and myrrh were valued for medicinal purposes, for keeping the baby healthy and the mother pain-free.
One of the many weird aspects of growing older is the way the body’s fat migrates. The protective fat pads from my feet and hands have disappeared, which makes long distance walking painful (the tops of my feet, oddly, not the bottoms). Perhaps these gifts from the wise woman will enable me to ramble again (though, admittedly, when I did ramble for hours, it was not during a time I was taking dance classes. Those classes range from an hour on the shortest day to four hours on the longest day, as well the mile walk to and from class, so I am not actually as lazy as I think I am).
If nothing else, these mythic gifts bring me a wonderful feeling of strange, as if somehow I am connected to the ancient story of the magi and that journey they took so very long ago.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Unfinished, Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.