Sunday, February 3, 2008

Help...Am I invisible!

I've been thinking about sharing this for a while and finally got a moment to do it. As a mom do you ever feel like no matter what you say or do it isn't good enough and it doesn't really matter if you are even there? If you are like me you feel like this a lot and I have a story to share with you. A couple of weeks ago I had one of those days that make you want to give up. Kira and I were outside playing in the snow and having fun, but when I told her it was time to go inside she ran across the driveway and into my neighbors house. I was in shock. By the time I made it over there she had run all through their home and was in their pantry with a handful of candy. My neighbors didn't even know what hit them and I was SO embarrassed. I was just thinking, "what is wrong with you?!" She never is that bad. Then when I tried to bring her home she kicked and screamed the whole way. I don't know what possessed her to do that but I felt like a HORRIBLE mother. I can't even get my kids to listen to me. Then later that week my little Kate, who we are potty training, took her diaper off again without me, even though I've asked her countless times to have me help her, and when I found her she had poop all over her clothes, the carpet, and even painted on the wall. Yeah! Some days I love being a mom. Well, just then my mom called to see how I was and she ended up telling me the story of a mom who felt invisible and frumpy and then her cute, stylish friend gave her a book on Cathedrals that she had just brought back from her trip to Europe. The mom thought what in the world am I going to do with this, but then she read the inscription from her friend about how the great builders of the cathedrals never lived to see the greatness of their work finally accomplished, but how they knew they were building beautiful works for God and they knew how important that was. Funny enough, a couple of days later my dad emailed me the same story. Someone must have known I needed to feel uplifted. So here it is. I hope you find it as inspirational as I did. It reminds me that what I am doing is so important and I really do love my kids so so much. They are my joy. Some days they just try my patience, which is part of the deal of being a mom, right.:)

“Invisible” Moms
It started to happen gradually.
One day I was walking my son Jake to school. I was holding his hand and we were about to cross the street when the crossing guard said to him, “Who is that with you, young fella?” “Nobody,” he shrugged. Nobody? The crossing guard and I laughed. My son is only 5, but as we crossed the street I thought, “Oh my goodness, nobody?”

I would walk into a room and no one would notice. I would say something to my family - like “Turn the TV down, please” - and nothing would happen. Nobody would get up, or even make a move for the remote. I would stand there for a minute, and then I would say again, a little louder, “Would someone turn the TV down?” Nothing.

Just the other night my husband and I were out at a party. We'd been there for about three hours and I was ready to leave. I noticed he was talking to a friend from work. So I walked over, and when there was a break in the conversation, I whispered, “I'm ready to go when you are.” He just kept right on talking.

That's when I started to put all the pieces together. I don't think he can see me. I don't think anyone can see me. I'm invisible. It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, “Can't you see I'm on the phone?” Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, “What time is it?” I'm a satellite guide to answer, “What number is the Disney Channel?” I'm a car to order, “Right around 5:30, please.”

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, “I brought you this.” It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe.

I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: “To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.”
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, “Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.” And the workman replied, “Because God sees.”
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, “I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.” At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, “My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.” That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, “You're gonna love it there.” As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women. "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?" I Cor.3:16

1 comment:

Jenny said...

Megon! I can't believe you've had a blog all this time and not told me about it! I am severely offended. No, make that a Chair On The Bed offended. Yes, that's right...the Big one. Well, I'm glad you finally smarted up so that I can see what's going on in your life. First of all, your blog puts my blog to shame, all that professional designmanship. I knew it from the first time you made the wearable flower that you had this kind of genius in you! I'm so excited to keep up on the latest Tooele mimories in the making. Can't wait for more!!!