Thursday, March 19, 2009

Are you invisible?

My friend Maryl shared this with me and I think it's so worth passing along.

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 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 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
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 shows 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
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..I just did


grammy said...

I have read something like that before. When my kids went to college I sure got lots of letters telling me how wonderful I am and that other kids did not seem to have moms and families like they did. You know they love you but it sure is nice when they start to tell you in a very grown up way (o:

MoziEsmé said...

I love that! I do feel invisible as a mom at times.

We had discussed in Scotland/England how much detailed work went into the cathedrals - they took centuries to complete. Here's my hubby's take on the topic: