Sunday, June 1, 2008

The busy-ness of a Martha

I've often said that I am a Martha at heart, and that isn't "a good thing." I don't mean the self-promotion queen. I'm referring to the Martha who was too busy in the kitchen to stop and listen to Jesus when he visited her home. He chided her self-importance, and provided a gentle lesson that resounds through the generations since.

I like to be busy. That busy-ness is a comfort when I'm wrestling with self-consciousness or uncertainty. Rather than sit at the table and eat with the family, I prefer to stand at the counter, nibbling and reading. I like to organize events, bustling from set-up to clean-up and working happily on the sidelines as the church crowd or school parent group or charity gathering chatter and catch up with each other. Small rooms filled to the brim with things and people are particularly challenging, so knitting stills my hands and keeps me from bolting.

Jesus understood the distraction of work and the way it can take our attention away from what should be more important: the care and feeding of our souls.

That said, my previous blog entry, "What if we had to stay home . . . " catalyzed quite a bit of discussion among readers, family, and friends. While some lamented the losses (social, professional, educational, cultural, culinary, etc.), many admitted a longing for a little more isolation. I fall into the latter camp. I am happiest at home, taking care of my family, welcoming friends of all ages, and nesting.

I've been surprised by how many people would like events to take away the need to hold on to so many intricate, intertwined strands of daily living. Without the opportunity to go, go, go, they'd have an excuse to enjoy the peace of simplicity.

At home, I can be as Martha as I like. Or have the time finally to be Mary, who chose to sit at Jesus' feet and just listen. If I had to stay home, I'd be content. At long last.

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