My six year old queried with a sigh one day.
Is that a hypothetical question? I am a homeschooling mom with four young boys. I am wife. I am homemaker, daughter, friend, occasional blogger. I am busy.
There is so much I must do. There is plenty more I could do. "Free" time isn't really applicable in this present chapter of my life.
It isn't that I really want to be this way. Not that I want to be bored, but that won't be an issue for many years, at this rate. I really would rather be like Mary, dropping everything to sit at Jesus' feet in adoration and wonder.
But somewhere along the line, probably when I was trying to juggle homemaker/wife/mommyx4/etc, life got ridiculously busy, and I turned into Martha.
Ben is a year and a half old now. He is most content in the midst of the happy chaos his little world is full of. He's barely aware that most of his peers are walking now, climbing stairs and chairs and falling off them and rubbing their heads, trying to clamber out of their cribs too late at night or early in the morning, and generally giving their parents headaches with all the childproofing toddler worlds require.
I wish, sometimes, that was my headache.
Still, I imagine him upright, chubby legs steadied in orange plastic braces, hanging on trustingly to tall toys, tables or a parent's knees. Perhaps he will, in time. But what if he's unable to walk, what if never? What if I need to carry him for years ahead? How can I bear this burden? Will I be holding him at his brother's soccer games? Will I carry him around the playground? Will he watch from my lap at his brother's swim meets? No matter how small his stature, or how big my muscles grow, this sometimes seems too heavy to bear.
Martha said so.
Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.
And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word.
But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me."
And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.
But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.
The Son of God had just walked into her house, probably with a substantial posse of hungry, dirty, tired disciples. They needed food. They needed water to wash. They needed places to sit and cool down. It was her house. It was on her shoulders to kill and cook the fatted calf, to not burn the challah or fig pie (I'm guessing at the menu). She had to be sure there were enough fresh sheets if they were going to stay overnight in the guestrooms, and I'm guessing she didn't have a speed wash or dry cycle. The outhouse had to be spotless. She'd been meaning to whitewash the front of the house all summer; Passover was coming and how had she not done it yet? Milk spoiled so quickly; maybe she could just run over to the neighbors and borrow a jug. Ack! So much to do for Jesus! At least maybe Mary had hopefully thrown the sheets on the line, and if she'd started the roast they might just be able to accomplish it all by dinner time...
Mary? Why wasn't she in the kitchen? She loved seeing Jesus; there was no way she would have just gone wandering off like she did in those introspective moments. If they could just get all the serving done, then they could spend some time with Jesus. Martha peeked around the corner to see if Jesus needed a refill; He was talking so much, He must be parched. There was Mary's upturned face, right in the middle of the floor in front of Jesus! Shirking her duties completely; Martha would have to do it all. It was just too much!
But when Martha finally brought her frustration to Jesus, after much fretting, she wasn't initially soothed. "Mary chose the right thing" wasn't what Martha wanted to hear. She wanted to be affirmed and patted on the back for wanting to help Jesus.
But Jesus wasn't there because He needed help.
Jesus didn't need food; He'd just fed 5,000 people with a handful of fish and loaves of bread.
Jesus didn't need to wash the dirt from His feet; He'd made dirt; it didn't faze him.
Jesus didn't need clean sheets; He was used to not having a place to lay His head.
Jesus didn't need Martha to carry His load.
He was there to carry hers.
"Come sit with Me." He told Martha.
"I am the bread of life. I will wash you white as snow. I will give you rest.
You were meant to have a Mary kind of life with Martha moments here and there. You've got it turned around. I'm not here to make a Martha out of Mary. I'm here to make a Mary out of Martha.
"Come to Me, all [you] who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
"For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Does this mean I can ignore the dishes?
Perhaps some of these things are so insignificant in His grand scheme that if I could see His big picture, I would indeed feel silly worrying so much about the congealed oatmeal in the bottom of the sink.
Does it mean He will make my son walk?
Perhaps He sees my little son as a grown man at a podium or even in a slum, championing the cause of the widow and the orphan. Whether he got himself there on his feet or his wheelchair will be inconsequential to both of us at that moment. He made Ben because He wanted to love his soul; the difficulties with his spinal cord are just part of helping Ben (and me) to realize that.
Carrying him now doesn't seem like such a big deal with the light of eternity in the corner of my eye.
Make me Mary, God. "Busy" is not my priority. "Being" is my priority.
Now, I hope you'll excuse me. I have to go play legos with the kids.