But – thank God! – Jesus meets us where we are. He comes into those dark, hidden corners of our lives and, if we’re willing, he shines the sweet spotlight of heaven, his precious Holy Spirit. If we allow him, he offers to clean out our personalities, tempering them through the Holy Spirit so we won’t fall to the strong sides of our weaknesses and the weak sides of our strengths.

And that, as far as we can tell, is what happened to Mary. Even though she sensed, with her keen intuitiveness, the graveness of her Lord’s situation, this time she did not collapse. Instead of just sitting passively and listening to the Savior, instead of being overwhelmed by grief, this time Mary responded. She gave herself in worship to the One who had given so much to her and her family.

Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, by Joanna Weaver

How different would my life be if, like Jesus, I met people where they are, instead of where I think they should be? What if, instead of thinking of how things should be, I focus on how they are?

My prayer this week, as I return to work and face the advent of yet more changes, is that I remember this passage and the wisdom of Mary’s approach to Jesus as she anointed his feet with the expensive perfume.