Passersby might be forgiven for considering me to be a little, well, composed
given the terror from which we flee.
But inside I’m all turmoil;
unsure where this road will take us,
not daring to think of those who might suffer in our stead,
worried to death about this little one and his mother.
For she, too, must be feeling more than she shows.
I know that her pondering heart will be storing all this up,
mulling over what it is that my choice to run will mean for us all,
wondering what sort of life we can make in a new place.
But resting here in the shade of this cool palm,
I find my troubled soul a little more at ease.
Who knows whether our time among strangers
might do something for the lad.
This is not the life we might have planned for him
but his is a life – we have discovered –
that we cannot plan in any way.
His is a life we can only know as gift
and I receive it with as much joy
as the simple flowers he tenderly presses into my calloused hands.
[Raphael’s Holy Family with a Palm Tree is in the collection of the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh]