Thursday, July 12, 2007


There's no doubt about it. When presented with the choice of "being" or "doing," I know deep down I want to choose "being." I want to be (there's that word again!) the sort of person who "be"s naturally. (How's that for a twist of grammar?) Truth-telling now, though. I'm a doer, through and through. I'm the sort of person who hears the story of Mary and Martha--of Mary celebrated for sitting attentively at Jesus' side while Martha hustled her way through dinner preparations--and gets angry that Jesus reinforces Mary for "doing nothing." While I know how good it is to sit with a Mary at my side, I am still consumed with the question of how all the tasks at hand were completed to allow her to be there. As I said recently to my counselor/spiritual director, "How can I relax and still get the vacuuming done?" It seems I only imagine myself effective when there's a cloud of activity and stress surrounding me. Oh Martha, Martha, Martha--I hear you, sister.

This morning I woke early when Matt left for his morning basketball league. I've been working long days Monday-Thursday in hopes of having a bonus day with the kids on Friday. My hat is off to the many women and men who work hard labor jobs with long shifts or, more difficult still, work more than one job. A few ten hour days in a row and I'm ready to crash. By this morning, my body was craving an extra few minutes of sleep--but my spirit was craving something more. I crawled out of bed, raised the blinds, and climbed back into bed to sit and meditate. Silence. Birds calling and singing. No children's footsteps. No spouse's grunts and groans at too much early-morning sunlight. I kept resetting the alarm, imagining I might still squeeze in those few minutes on the snooze bar. But my spirit continued to ask for time.

I dressed, made a cup of coffee (to counteract the lack of added sleep!), filled my cereal bowl and headed for our back deck. With travels to Boston for our anniversary (last week) and to New York for the funeral of my oldest friend's father (this week), I feel distant at best from my yard. With long days at work, I'm contributing little to the woodchuck/weed hunting consuming Matt's days as he struggles to feed us, rather than the animals, with the garden. Sitting in the midst of the stunningly tall trees, following the flight patterns of the birds from branch to branch, I felt truly home. I was rewarded instantly for showing up, staying silent, and being attentive. I glanced at our clothesline, and there was our hummingbird flying in for a visit. She looked like a Martha, of course--all business, buzzing up to that feeder as though there was no time to waste with a visit or attention to me. But I, for once, felt like Mary--laundry still in the washer, kids still sound asleep in their beds, fully present for the moment before me.

1 comment:

Sue said...

Beautiful, Jen. This too is something I struggle with constantly (and I don't even have a job! At least not outside the home ...). I love the fact that you were able to embrace your back yard and soak it in. There's something about yards that -- when are you able to just sit and be there -- can be very healing and fulfilling. You should name your little bird-friend "Martha" -- very fitting. Thanks for sharing -- can't wait to see your yard, and especially YOU!