I think I am a Martha or at least I used to be. Our SS class this past Sunday was about Mary and Martha. And the lesson has stayed in my mind. I realize I used to be a "Martha", earlier in my life, in a previous marriage while my children were young, I really really was a "Martha". Someone in class said she must have been ADHD, it was said in a joke, but really, maybe so ... I was constantly trying to be "perfect" and in doing so was being so imperfect. My life was so structured with my check lists, my daily chores, my laundry days, my dusting days, my get up at this time, go to bed at this time, dinner at this time, house had to be clean before I could rest good in my bed, my couch pillows had to be fluffed just so and in the right places, even my Christmas packages had to fall under my control. They had to be perfect. I stressed myself out alot and my family too. I can see that now, but I couldn't then.
I read up on some from other studies on Martha v. Mary, below are some excerpts, which I felt were noteworthy and made sense to me, these are all copied and I didn't keep track of the authors, so I hope copying to a blog doesn't constitute breaking any copyright laws, these are about Martha - because I felt empathy for her and I identified with her too much:
1) She tried to make up what she lacked by activity.
2) The saddest thing about Martha is that her attitude caused her to miss out on so much:she missed the opportunity to sit at a Bible study led by Jesus; she mis understood the comfort He offered her at her brother’s grave; left up to her own devices, she would even have missed the miracle of her brother’s resurrection; and finally she missed the opportunity to lavish love and attention on Jesus’ just days before He died.
3) Martha’s problem was not that she lived an active life, as opposed to Mary’s contemplative one. She was, after all, doing what any good Jew of her time would do – providing hospitality and serving a guest. Her problem was that she gave in to resentment over Mary’s choice. The problem for those of us who are active – providing service in our place of work and in our homes – is more than just avoiding resentment. We must also find a spirituality that helps us find and serve God in the midst of noise and confusion. (this is what I needed back then and even now.)
So, what I get from this and from the story in the Bible, is that while Martha wasn't a bad person, she missed out on a lot by trying to DO all and too many of the right things or at least what she considered the right things, by making sure all of her to-do list were done, and done right - she didn't take time to smell the roses, so to speak...
You know, we are supposed to learn by our mistakes; now, my home is not perfect (not that it was before, but I tried my best (exhausted myself) to make it), now my couch pillows are not fluffed on a daily basis, I am soo imperfect; but I am more REAL now than I ever was before, as the saying goes ... "I am not what I ought to be,I am not what I wish to be,But, by the grace of God,I am not what I used to be"
The Martha in me though, wants to ask, if she had quit and joined Mary to sit at Jesus feet instead of making sure the household chores were done and dinner prepared, who would have done it? Yeah, I know in the big picture the chores and dinner were not (and are not) as important as sitting at Jesus' feet, but still, that is just where my mind goes ....
See ... I am still a bit of a Martha, I need a little bit more of Mary still in my life I guess. I am a work in progress, aren't we all?