I know I just wrote about Becoming Mary. And that’s an excellent goal. We should be more like her. But today I’m thinking that becoming Martha really isn’t all that bad either. In two weeks, my husband’s rather large family is coming to stay with us. Over Thanksgiving weekend there will be about 40 us living in my house and eating Thanksgiving dinner. And while I am looking forward to it immensely (Who doesn’t just love to see all the cousins playing together?!), . This needs to be a deep down, soul-cleansing, cleaning because they’ll be living here and opening up my cupboards and cooking in my kitchen and sleeping in my children’s bedrooms.
So I just have to put this out there. If I were the type of woman who COULD keep my house that clean, it would already be that clean. Know what I mean? So in the spirit of Holiday Preparations, my children and I spent the entire day yesterday cleaning and getting ready for major houseguests. Of course, I have to start two weeks ahead of time because I don’t actually know how to mess with the time/space continuum to really give myself the time I need. But you just do the best you can with you’ve got. That’s why my seven children and I got to work yesterday.
And you know what? My house is by no means perfect yet. Ha! Seven children live here, after all! But at least the main level of the house is looking really good and it’s comfortable and nice. This morning as I am enjoying how wonderful it is, I feel like I could use a little more Martha in me. Martha was a woman who saw what needed doing and got it done. She wasn’t afraid of hard work and knew it was her job to see that it got done. Maybe she even had seven children.
I was mentioning to someone a week ago that I wasn’t the World’s Greatest Housekeeper and I was a failure at all things crafty and I don’t decorate. Just don’t go there. And the person responded that everyone is different and maybe keeping an orderly house wasn’t my strength, but maybe I played lots of games with my children and read them books frequently or maybe instead of spending all that time cleaning I was out visiting the sick and the needy. And for a split second that made me feel better about myself.
But then I realized the wrong assumption. The assumption is that if you aren’t Mary, then you are Martha. If you aren’t Martha, then you are Mary. The truth of the matter is, I love my kids dearly. But I’m not very good at playing with them or reading them books either. Just because my house is messy doesn’t necessarily mean that the time I “should” be cleaning is spent in worthwhile ways. Honestly, most of the time I feel like I am neither Mary nor Martha. I’m the clueless next door neighbor who didn’t even realize the Savior and his disciples were visiting and I was busy gossiping with the woman from down the street.
Now, I’ve told you some of weaknesses. But I do realize that God has blessed me with strengths also. It just so happens that I have trouble with my personal scripture study and prayer AND with keeping my house clean. I just don’t think any of my strengths fall into the Martha/Mary continuum.
This morning as I am sitting in a really neat and tidy home enjoying the fruits of my Saturday labor, I’m just realizing that we don’t have to become Mary at the expense of losing our Martha. In fact, I’m thinking that a little more Martha would be a great blessing in my life–becoming Martha without worrying about what the Marys are doing.