A little departure today. I've read many books over the years, but I think I must be a romantic at heart.
I love to read the old classic stories.
Austen's Pride and Prejudice stole my heart. The love story between
Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy wrapped me up in their emotional
interludes. Love/hate/misunderstandings/reconciliation/happy ending.
How could I ask for more?
And then there was Emma,
spoiled country girl who tried to be the matchmaker. Only to find that
it was she who would lose in love. Ah! But there is also another
Sense and Sensibility............
Two sisters, two loves, two broken hearts, two happy endings.
Jane Austen is not the only author I favor.
recently listened to the "Little Women" CD's. I found this to be a
most enjoyable book. With so many characters and story lines. The book
has so much more depth then the movies.
And speaking of movies,
last year I watched "North and South", a PBS made for TV movie. I
thought the production was good, and ventured to find the book. It was
very elusive. But I finally came across a
telling you, I was gripped by this book. The movie is nothing compared
to the story of Margaret and Mr. Thornton. One reason I love to read
these old classics is that their emotions are written in such beautiful
detail, and yet there is nothing unsavory.
Yep, I think I am a romantic at heart. Love the old classics. How about you??
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.
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
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 sum a cum laude - but now they had
disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's
going; she's going; she is gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England.
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.'
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 My Dear
Friend, 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.
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 into place.
was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. 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.'
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.
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.
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 son 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 going to
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
Self-preoccupation, self-broodings, self-interest, self-love...these are the reasons we jar each other.
Turn your eyes off yourself; look up and out! There are brothers and sisters; they have needs that you can aid.
Listen for their confidences; keep your heart wide open to their call, and your hands alert for their service.
Learn to give and not to take; to drown your own hungry wants in the happiness of lending yourself to fulfill the interests of those nearest or dearest.
Look up and out, from this narrow, cabined self of yours...you will find to your own glad surprise the secret of the meekness and gentleness of Jesus, and the fruits of the Spirit will all bud and blossom from out of your life.