Martha, Martha

I’ve been reading the story of Mary and Martha a lot lately.  (Luke 10:38-42) It keeps coming up somehow.  That’s too vague.  What I mean is that God keeps bringing it up.  Because I am totally Martha. Distracted by all the things that need to be done.

When I was a kid I read this story and thought, “Yes.  Priorities.  Sitting at the Lord’s feet is way more important than kneading bread, Martha.  Duh.  Take a clue from your sister.”  The message was clear.  I liked this story as a kid for its simplicity – even a child can understand that.

I got a little older and thought, “Yes.  Priorities.  Sitting at the Lord’s feet is way more important than doing all the tasks I always seem to feel like I need to do. Take a clue from Mary.”  I realized that I was more like Martha than like Mary (around about the time I started becoming an adult responsible for getting things done.) I worked on having my quiet time in the morning and putting God first.  (And stopped saying Duh.)

Then I got a little older (how does that keep happening?!) and thought, “Yes.  Priorities.  Relationships are more important than tasks.  Huh.  Take a hint, Andra.”  This took a little longer to grasp.  Not just Jesus (who definitely is the most important of all), but all of my relationships are more important than vacuuming.  I have to fight for this in my mind daily.

Then I got a little older and thought, “But goodness, SOMEONE has to get that cleaned up.  SOMEONE has to cook the meal.  SOMEONE has to write that email.  Lord, don’t you care that this work has to be done?  Which is it – tasks or people?”  (This was yesterday, by the way, so there isn’t much getting older in this story.)  I would LOVE to just sit around and play games with my husband, read books with a kid on each thigh all afternoon, call up all my friends every evening, throw the paperwork to the wind (Can I say that again?  It just sounds so deliciously wonderful.  Throw the paperwork to the wind.)  (And…one more time.  Throw the paperwork to the wind.  Ahhh.  Okay, I’m back.  Thanks.)

“Andra, Andra,” the Lord answered, “you are concerned about many things.”  Yes, I know.  And they won’t go away without me taking care of them.  I’m not asking for someone else to help me with them.  I really think they are my responsibility.  That, I get.  But how am I supposed to get them done and still sit at the Lord’s feet?  Still put relationships first?  This frustrates me like crazy.

I know.  Balance your time.  Take care of the people first and then you will have time to take care of your work.  Put the big rocks into your jar first and all the pebbles and sand and water will fit but if I put the pebbles and sand and water in first, the big rocks won’t fit. I know all that.  It’s not helping me.

“Only one thing is needed,” Jesus said to her.  Do I really believe that?  Just one thing?  Surely He didn’t mean we don’t need to cook.  My family would starve.  That’s not helpful for the relationship.  So what did He mean?

I think He meant right then.  One thing that evening.  Jesus, the Lord and Savior, is sitting in your house for that day.  Do you A. Make bread to serve him or B. Sit and listen to Him.  It’s your big chance, maybe your only chance, to hear the Son of God in your own house, one on one (well, two on one since Mary’s already at it.)  That choice is clear.  There should be no doubt, if Martha really thought about it.  If she had just stopped for two seconds to ask the right question.

How many things are needed?

That’s my question.  How many things are really, truly needed right now.  Sometimes, five things are needed.  So prioritize those five things and get at it.  But sometimes, only one thing is needed.  I may think that ten other things need to get done.  They probably do need to get done.  Later. But right then, only one thing is needed.  And if I can chose what is better it will not be taken away from me.  The dirty dishes may not be taken away from me either, but they will be there later.  The relational chance may not.



Hodge Podge

I actually don’t read too many blogs.  Kind of hypocritical of me, considering how badly I want people to read mine.  But let’s move on to my point.

So…my point.  My point with this post is to say that I don’t really have one.  Of the very few blogs I read, the thing I look for is that they are consistent.  I know what to expect: good recipes with fun commentary, hilarious lessons from life as a mom, book reviews.  THEY have a point.  And this is my official post to say, “You won’t find that here.”

I’ve tried to nail down my blog’s focus.  What am I talking about to the cybervoid?  Who am I talking to?  (To whom am I talking, if I’m talking to the grammar police.)  I’ve come to the conclusion that this is going to be the one place (besides my underwear drawer, but maybe that’s t.m.i.) where things are disorganized.  Some might complain about it being “hit or miss” or “scattered” but I’m going to term it “eclectic.”

The thing is, I’m at a place in life where I feel shallow.  I used to sit and think all sorts of deep thoughts.  I used to read all kinds of convoluted plots.  I used to write without using “I” to start three sentences in a row.  Most days now I’m not sitting at all and my thoughts are about whether I will remember to take the meat out of the freezer to defrost it.  Plots these days consist of “Will the toddler take a nap or not?”  Nail biter, chapter-turners.  Now, piteously, my writing is readable mostly thanks to trusty old spell-check.  Shallow, all of it.

But is it?  Maybe my thoughts are shallow.  Maybe my body is lazy (or just tired all the time.)  But my heart is deep, busy loving a household of big and little people.  And I guess at this point, that’s all that matters.

So when you read (or skim – I know you’re out there) my random blog posts and wonder why I’m rabbit-trailing again, or give up because I’m too “all over the place,” just chalk it up to a shallow head and a deep heart.  That means I have a lot to share but not really, which means my blog posts are not consistent or focused, which means my own blog is not on my short list of blogs I read.   Bummer.

“Uh, It Was an Accident?”

Accidents happen.  Fact of life.  But what do you do about those things that aren’t quite accidents but really shouldn’t have happened?

I’m talking about the things we do that were just plain stupid.  I might be the only one who misjudges my own body shape and routinely runs into the doorframe with my shoulder. (Or even more painful, opens the car door into my shoulder.)  But I’m fairly certain I’m not the only one who pours orange juice into my bowl of cereal.

Is this clumsiness?  Tiredness?  Laziness?  (“I just don’t want to move over so the car door doesn’t whack me.”) These are all nearly valid excuses for life’s “Not-Quite-An-Accident” incidents.

But what about this one?  While babysitting for two little girls, I saw a  small hole in the carved back of a wooden dining room chair.  I thought, “Huh.  That looks about the size of my pinky.”  So I wanted to check and see if I was right.  It almost was.  I had to push a little to get it all the way in.  Yes.  I know.

Four hours later, after a phone call to my dad (“Is it cold water or hot water that makes swelling go down?”), a movie for the girls (remember that scene in Dumbo where the mommy elephant is locked in the cage and can just barely reach her baby by stretching out her trunk through the bars?  Never empathized so much in my life.), and a lot of carting that chair around with me, the parents came home.  They were greeted with, “Mommy!  Andra’s got her finger stuck in a chair!”

My dad and the girls’ father considered sawing but weren’t sure how to stop the saw before it hit my finger.  (Ack.) They settled on black grease from his garage.  Then they pulled until I thought my finger would dislocate.  It didn’t.  (Oh, and the chair survived, too.)

That really wasn’t an accident.  So what was it?  Wanting to satisfy my curiosity?  Lack of thinking clearly through my actions?  (I’m trying just avoid this: Just plain stupid.)

Please say I’m not the only one with this problem.

At least I’m not accident-prone.  Just not-quite-an-accident-prone.

Why I Make Lists

I’m a list-maker.  I know there are a lot of us out there, but for those of you who just don’t get it, let me fill you in on the types of things that I need written down to remember.

  • What time I’m supposed to pick my son up from school.
  • Get a babysitter for date night.
  • Lock the door.
  • Pack underwear for our trip.
  • Children’s social security numbers.
  • Buy diapers.
  • Pack my son’s snack for school.
  • Buy Christmas presents.
  • Family birth dates. (I’m talking about  my own children.  Dead serious.)

And last but not least, the password for my blog account.  Which didn’t make it on the list.  Which is why I’m starting fresh today.  This time around, I wrote it all down so I can access my account again and hopefully I won’t be starting fresh again tomorrow.  If I remember to check my list.