a little and a lot

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

i am martha

tonight, nick and i hosted some friends of ours at my house for dinner and to watch a recently tivo-ed college football game. fun, right?

somehow, as the time drew nearer for our friends to arrive, the panic in me started rising. my house isn’t clean enough. i should’ve mopped this weekend. i hope they don’t poke their heads into my bedroom. i wish i had more vegetables to go with this salad. this doesn’t seem like the right icecream recipe. i hope we have enough ice to go around for drinks...what if we run out?!

as the friends arrived, i kept finding things to do. mixing up lemonade, checking on dessert, making sure my dog was behaving...

when the evening was over and i was sitting and talking with nick, i found myself feeling angry towards him...and why? he had taken me grocery shopping after work, helped me clean up my house when we got home, picked up the pizzas, and even made more lemonade when we ran out. still, i felt like i had done everything all night...it had all been up to me.

poking fun, nick said, “jess, do you feel like you were martha and i was mary?”

but actually, he was dead on. i did feel like that. nick spent the evening enjoying the company of our friends and sitting in their presence while i scurried, trying to serve and do more and just “do.” the more i’ve thought about it, the more i realize i am always the martha. i am always the one who misses the ride because she’s stressing about the directions...

i want to be better about that. let go of perfectionism. let go of pleasing people. or “doing” to please God. let go of bitterness towards others who “aren’t helping as much.” let go of having to have control of a situation. i want to be mary.

i’ve always thought mary was probably a really spacey character...kind of clueless. and actually kind of lazy. she probably didn’t feel like preparing the food or making the beds or washing the dishes and that was why she was hanging out with Jesus. secretly, i’ve always thought that the stern, mothering martha did have a point--mary was such a slacker! but tonight i saw mary as nick...actually helping out and making preparations, but allowing the presence of friends to be the most important thing. laughing with them, actually listening to what they had to say, taking joy in their company. i’ve also always pictured Jesus “teaching” mary when she is found “not helping.” she chose the better choice--being educated by Jesus as she gazed at him in her spaced-out way. but what if they were just hanging out? what if he was in the middle of telling her about some wild fishing story or the latest stupid thing that peter did? what if she was just blessing him with her simple presence as a friend?

yeah, i think i’ve been wrong about that whole story. i’m thankful for the way it took on flesh and bones tonight.

as Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came
to a village where a woman named martha opened her home to him. she had a sister called
mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. but martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. she came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? tell her to help me!”

“martha, martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (luke 10:38-42)


Chad Billy-Steve Pknicholson said...

I can't believe my girlfriend just publicly called me a Mary. Ouch.

lee said...

How might we apply this revelation to our Christmas preparations--specifically as it applies to your mother's role?

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