Thursday, January 27, 2011

Invisible Mothers and grandmothers

This was an e-mail that was sent to me by my daughter-in-law. I wanted to share it with you. When you are busy wrapping presents or setting the table or cooking, shopping and decorating, etc and you start to feel exhausted and a little bit like a martyr, stop and read this passage.
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 am 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 a 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.
Some days I'm a Crystal ball, " Where's my other sock? Where's my phone? Whats for dinner?
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature-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. She 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 she 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: 'With admiration for the greatness o f 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: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals-we have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A story of legend 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 and the workman replied, "Because God Sees.
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It 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, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is to small for me to notice or smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can''t see right now what it will become.
I 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. The 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 to 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 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built 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, he'd say, 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 mothers.
Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know. I just did .
I think if you are a mother or grandmother we all have felt like we are invisble at one time or another. I know I have.
One more day until the weekend. Hooray. it will be a busy weekend. Sorry this post is longer then my normal ones. Have a great day.


Nancy said...

Oh my gosh - that was beautiful. I have tears in my eyes. Thanks for sharing it.

sweet violets said...

So beautiful, am passing this one on....hugs to a fellow builder....Cleo

sweet violets said...

So beautiful, am passing this one on....hugs to a fellow builder....Cleo

Dragonfly Treasure said...

Just beautiful
Have a great weekend

stefanie said...

I love this!!! just perfect!!!
oh, the padlock on the mailbox...people are stealing others mail, so now everyone has locks or like ours the new ones that are only opened with a key...sad huh!!!

The French Bear said...

Shirley, what a lovely post....very touching and so truthful!!! This is just the story that everyone needs to read...thank you!
I do hope the weather situation is getting better for you....we have had complete flip flops in the temperatures here and now we have cold again with more snow!!!
Have a wonderful weekend and I will be thinking of you my sweet friend, as I build another cathedral!!!
Margaret B

Char said...

Oh Shirley, I wasn't expecting to shed tears when I came in for this visit, but shed them I did. What a very lovely post. I especially was touched by the story of sitting at the table with your friends. I think we all have been through that feeling of just not measureing up, but you can only see what's on the outside, and most times, what's on the inside is so much more beautiful. I think your friend showed you that is a very profound and loving way. This was the perfect way to begin the day and I thank you my friend, Char