The pair had come late to the town. Two weeks they had walked, making poor progress on the crowded roads. Their clothing, their hair, even the pores of their exposed skin, were encrusted with the fine dust kicked up by grumpy men, haggard wives, exhausted children, overburdened ox carts, donkeys and asses... all the world was on the move, for all the world was returning to their roots.
Caesar required a census, which usually meant more taxes, and which entailed everyone returning to their familial point of origin to be counted with their kin. For many, the journey was inconvenient but not terribly long. Homes were locked, shops secured, carts borrowed... they would be back in a week. Two at most.
For others, the journey was life altering. Shops were sold, wares discounted or traded, homes abandoned. They might return, eventually... but they might not. Friends parted, partnerships dissolved, couples left in-laws, and wives followed husbands away from the only homes they had ever known.
Push carts, wagons, ox carts and pack frames quickly became scarce, with even the roughest old carriage costing treble its worth. Frustrated buyers haggled fiercely, but the sellers had the advantage. In a few weeks prices would plummet, but for the moment...
The Romans, for their own purposes, had installed their mile markers along major roads and trade routes. From Nazareth in Galilee, to Jerusalem in Judaea, the newly married couple counted over ninety of the stone markers along the narrow roads that crossed ridges, wound through mountain passes, dropped into valleys, and for the last eighteen miles, climbed over thirty three hundred feet to Jerusalem atop Mount Zion. And they still had over six miles, another day, to go.
So the pair came late to the little town.
It was the innkeeper’s wife who first spotted the road weary couple as they walked to the village center... and just stopped. Only the man looked about, as his young wife slipped slowly from their donkey’s back. With eyes closed and looking inward, the girl leaned against the small beast as the tingling in her feet and legs subsided. The donkey leaned into her weight, and for a moment, with heads nodding, they supported one another.
Watching from her doorway, the innkeeper’s wife felt for the pair. The inn was full, and she knew for a fact that every other house, room, shack or hovel for miles about were full, as well. She hated to be the one to disappoint these folks so she prepared to turn away... but then the girl slowly raised one hand to her belly, and the innkeeper’s wife recognized that oldest of protective motherly instincts: to shield and comfort the child within.
With a little work, and fresh bedding in the stalls, the empty stable behind the inn would do, until something better came available.
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Giving your heart to others by listening to their heart
When you grow a leader who values people you help the whole world