Looking back, I was more like my mum; always cleaning, cooking, moving. Back then, I cleaned the inside of the microwave and the fridge every week. I always mopped after I hoovered. If I saw something out of place, I moved it back. The quilt on the bed was always smooth. You could run your finger over any surface and it would come back clean.
Those were my Martha days. I would plan around the things I needed to clean. Children, social engagements and rest came second. They were satisfying, controlled days. But now, they’re fading away. Now, I’m finding myself morphed into Mary.
I’m sure you know the Bible story. Jesus comes to visit and two sisters come into their own; Martha stays in the kitchen, preparing, cleaning, cooking for her special guest. Where’s Mary? She is sitting at Jesus’ feet, drinking in His words and His presence. Always the teaching seems to frown upon Martha and extol Mary. In the past that annoyed me. It seemed like doing nothing and sitting around were better. What about all the people working hard for no thanks?
Now, as I become more likely to sit and savour than to do, I’m very glad that state of being has its own revered place. Now when people see me sitting on that bench it’s ok. Even the Bible says so!
There is a snag though. What do you do when you’re a Martha stuck inside Mary’s body? The thing is, I still need a clean house and dinner ready for six every night; it’s just harder to achieve now. I wonder if Martha felt like that when she was old? Frustration is a reality most days for me. In an idealised world, my personality would change and I would become this amazingly placid saint. (Actually, I’m getting better at hiding my disappointments so that, iceberg-style, no-one can see them.)
Have you had to bury a part of who you are as you try to become a more acceptable version of yourself? Maybe circumstances have forced you into that. Either way, accept help when you can’t do the things you used to, pull what matters closer and look them in the eyes. How could a sparkling house ever compare to that?