Monday, June 22, 2009

Blessed Encouragement in Due Season

I can't take credit for this post, as it appeared in my inbox recently. I can, however share it, because I was so blessed by it. As moms, we get caught up in the minute-to-minute realities of life with kids, and it's easy to lose sight of what we're working so frantically for. So read, enjoy, and be encouraged!

The Invisible Mother.....

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids would walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken somewhere. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?!' Obviously not.

No one can see if I'm on the phone or cooking or sweeping the floor or even standing on my head in the corner because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible; the Invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: "Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?"

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car ride to somewhere 'Right around 5:30 please.'

One night a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.'

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read, no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

1 – No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.

2 – These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.

3 – They made great sacrifices and expected no credit whatsoever.

4 – The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life; in fact, it is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my daughter to tell the friend she's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. Instead, I just want her to want to come home. If she says anything at all to her friend I would like it to be 'You're gonna love it here.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot see if we're doing it right. And one day it is very possible that the world will marvel not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.


Krista said...

I SOOOO needed to read that today! Thanks!!!

Marva said...

Thank you so much Deb.......I too so needed that! Hugs and blessings!

John L. Wright said...

Today, for the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, we sang the words of the Offertory Proper:

"Justus ut palma florebit: sicut cedrus, quae in Libano est, multiplicabitur."

"The righteous man shall flourish like the palm tree; he shall grow up like a cedar of Lebanon."

And I happened to be reminded of the martyrs of the Church, some whose names we will never know, and of the women portrayed in C.S. Lewis' work, THE GREAT DIVORCE. Nobody sees what God sees, and God sees all.

Yours is an all but thankless vocation, its own kind of martyrdom. But know that the fruits of your work will last for all eternity, and generations will benefit from your faithfulness.

Plus, you can't stand on your head. So don't even try.