Room for Both
Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
I understand these two sisters. Like Martha, I am the queen of to-do lists, and I get pretty serious about cleaning before company comes. I appreciate the involvement of my family when chores and tasks need doing and I’m not shy about asking for help. Years ago, however, one of my children expertly pointed out that I have two sides. She said to me plainly, “I have two moms, school year mom and summertime mom.” I immediately understood. Summertime mom is relaxed and less picky about chores, and above all, both physically and mentally present. Conversely, school year mom is focused on what’s next, on crossing items off her list, and can be a bit of a taskmaster when it comes to chores and homework. In the midst of the busyness surrounding school year mom, she can also become quite distracted.
Martha wants everything just right while Jesus visits. She wants Mary to pitch in. Yet when Martha complains to Jesus, he tells her that Mary chose “the better part.” Mary made a beeline for Jesus. She sat at his feet, fully present for his teaching. When I am fully present, I am attuned to the moment, and especially to God’s word. Indeed, I have come to see that there is space for my two sides—for both Martha and Mary-- in my own life.
Patient and present God, I know there is need of only one thing in my life, and that is your Word. Lift up my eyes from the whirlwind that I may slow down a bit, and choose the better part. Teach me to keep a little summertime mom in my heart all year long. Amen.