I must confess, in regard to the Bible story about Mary and Martha, I must be Mary. She was the one who sat at the feet of Jesus listening to His every word while poor ole Martha was stuck in the kitchen with her pots and pans, trying to get a meal ready for everyone. And I might add, without the help of Mary. Jesus didn’t seem too concerned about this breach of duties, and told Martha that Mary had chosen the good part (learning spiritual truths about the kingdom of God). Like other parts of the Bible having to do with siblings, such as the Prodigal Son, I have had problems understanding. You see, I came from a large family where we had our strict boundaries with each other about what the others duty was. Let a sibling shirk an assigned duty and the rest of us would pounce on the offender…”Mama, Daddy…!”
Now, I am an adult and I set my own boundaries. Like Mary, I tend to follow the exciting and the interesting, leaving the tedious work for later. For years I worked or went to school, and household projects were delayed until Saturday or vacations…or didn’t get done. Sure, I kept the house reasonably clean and repaired, but I wasn’t one of those people who fluffed the pillow you were sitting on as you left their house. I try hard to keep the tedious projects prioritize, finished, or discarded. I even watch “Hoarders” on TV occasionally as a warning to myself to curb the impulse to hoard. Yesterday, I finished sorting through 16 years of paperwork I had kept for income taxes. Keeping that many years was foolish, but I so dreaded doing that task.
One thing I have tried to do has been staying open for the unexpected trip, the unplanned meeting, the unforeseen opportunity to spend time with my family and friends. Those projects could wait, I reasoned.
Today, a friend and I were painting the doors in a rent house, and her five year old granddaughter came along. Being very chatty, and wanting to help, she begged to paint. I finally allowed her to paint one of the doors, all the while listening to her talk. We finished, and I sat down to rest for a minute. She pulled her chair up beside mine, and started telling me about her (imaginary) cow and sheep. Her hand indicated that the cow is about two feet tall, and that it likes to eat strawberries. I agreed with her that it was reasonable to tell the cow that it should eat grass instead. We discussed how cows were girls and bulls were boys. She told me the name of her sheep. As we were leaving, she ran to my car in gratitude and told me she loved me. We hugged. She had long blond hair and very blue eyes, and she stole my heart.
It is important to keep one’s life organized, but it is even more fun being a modern-day Mary.