Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Invisible Mother

a beautiful mother i know sent this to me. so here it is for you, so many beautiful mothers i know.

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. The invisible Mom. 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. She's
going, she's going, she's gone!
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. 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 fuelled 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 be 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 child 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.
Great Job, MOM!
Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know...


KRG said...

sounds like the Holy Spirit!

4kings said...

Thanks. This was a great encouragement when I really needed it.

lindsay said...

Wow what a beautiful tribute to all of us who are mothers, really puts life, duties and priorities into perspective. Thanks Le.