Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Martha, Martha, Martha!

"As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.' The Lord said to her in reply, 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.'" (Luke 10:38-42)

Do you ever find yourself relating very well to someone in the Bible? I am so totally a Martha!

Putting our kids to bed has always been a long, arduous process. First, there's the chase to get everyone dressed and have them brush their teeth. Then there are the individual rituals. One child wants to read out loud to you. The other wants you to read out loud to her and then lie down with her for a few minutes. The third one simply wants you to give up the rest of your evening and cuddle with her until the sun rises.

My husband conveniently has other things to do at this time of the day, which leaves me completely frustrated. I love my kids, and I love helping them settle into bed, but the process takes up most of my evening, some of which I try desperately to use to clean up or work.

The other night, the bedtime ritual was taking longer than usual, and I'd had it. My husband came up for one brief moment to kiss everyone good night; then, he fled to the basement to iron his shirts and watch sports. I was livid! I raced downstairs and made huffy noises until I got his attention. "Clearly, I need some help putting the kids to bed!" I shouted. He didn't say a word, and went back to his ironing. We've been through this before. I always get huffy, and then it passes. Nothing new.

The next morning, I sat down to read the Bible, and to what story did the pages fall? The story of Martha and Mary. I have always been fascinated by this story because both of these women clearly loved Jesus, although they took different paths to show their love.

Initially, you think, "Aren't we supposed to serve God? Martha's the one in the right, and Mary should get with the program!" But Jesus doesn't see it that way. He knows that his time on earth is short, and that Mary has chosen to spend her moments with Jesus enjoying his company and learning from him. Martha, meanwhile, is no doubt in the kitchen grumbling under her breath while she prepares some appetizers. She's missing all the joy of the moment!

How often do I miss the joy of the moment? Too often, I fear. There are so many demands: house, work, kids, husband, dog, cat, chores, appointments, etc. There is never enough time in the day, and when I do try to carve out time, it is consumed by something else I didn't have planned. How much more peaceful and meaningful the evening would be if I devoted it to my kids! The time will come soon enough when they'll put themselves to bed and won't even want to cuddle with Mom.

This doesn't mean I should leave the kitchen a mess or blow off my work, but it does mean I should recognize the precious, memorable moments in life and savor them. How wonderful it would be to think, "Diane has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."
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